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Step-by-Step Guide to Dealing with Retaliation in the California Workplace 

June 29, 2023

If you are being retaliated against in the workplace in California, it’s important to know your rights and how to protect yourself. Retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee for exercising their legal rights, such as complaining about discrimination or harassment, or for participating in an investigation or proceeding. In this blog post, we’ll outline the step-by-step process for dealing with retaliation in the California workplace.

Step 1: Document the retaliation.

The first step in dealing with retaliation is to document the behavior. This may include keeping a record of the dates and details of the retaliation, as well as any witnesses to the behavior. It’s important to be as specific as possible when documenting the retaliation, as this will be helpful in building your case if you decide to take further action.

Step 2: Report the retaliation to your employer.

If you are being retaliated against, it’s important to report the behavior to your employer. You can do this either orally or in writing, but it’s usually best to put your report in writing. This will provide a clear record of your complaint, make it easier for your employer to respond, and make it unlikely for your employer to later deny that you made a complaint. In your report, be sure to specify the details of the retaliation and any steps you have already taken to try to stop it.

Step 3: Consider your options for addressing the retaliation.

After you have reported the retaliation to your employer, you will need to consider your options for addressing the behavior. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to resolve the issue informally through your employer’s internal complaint process. Alternatively, you may need to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Step 4: Seek legal advice.

If you are being retaliated against at work, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. An experienced employment attorney can review the facts of your case and advise you on your options for addressing the retaliation. They can also help you gather any additional evidence and represent you in legal proceedings, if necessary.

Step 5: Take care of yourself.

Dealing with retaliation can be emotionally and mentally exhausting, and it’s important to take care of yourself during this process. This may include seeking support from friends, family, or a counselor, and making sure to take breaks and practice self-care.


Dealing with retaliation in the workplace can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, including documenting the retaliation, reporting it to your employer, and seeking legal advice, you can protect yourself and take action to address the behavior. Remember, it’s important to act quickly if you are being retaliated against, as there are strict time limits for filing a complaint with the DFEH or EEOC.

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