Was I retaliated against?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Was I retaliated against?

I was recently terminated. It started when he gave me a choice of a demotion or him putting me on a 3 month action plan and firing me at the end of the plan. I then explained to him that he couldn’t do that, that he needed to treat people equally. I then called HR and reported him for discrimination because of my sexuality. He then put me on the plan but did not follow through on his part of the plan but continued to harass me saying that I was still going to be fired despite my improvements. Then 4 months passed, my plan was only for 3 and I was terminated and was delivered a Level 4 write-up/separation letter. I spoke to HR and told them that I was terminated with an open discrimination case and they said the case was closed on the day of my termination, although no one gave me any outcome. As I read my separation letter, it stated that I received all the level write-ups for correction, which I did not. I filed another case with HR claiming that my boss falsified documentation to terminate me. HR completed their investigation and was able to substantiate everything I said but told me my termination was still being supported. I feel I was discriminated against, retaliated on and put in such a hostile work environment. Is this legal?

Asked on January 25, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The issue is, did you in fact have any performance issues or other problems which would justify a demotion or action plan? Be honest with yourself about this, since it determines if you have a legal case.
If you had issues at work, such as with performance or teamwork/attitude, then you could be terminated for them even if you had filed a discrimination complaint: while CA state law (not federal law) prohibits firing you because of your sexual orientation (we presume that's what you mean by "sexuality") or firing you because you brought a discrimination complaint, it does not prevent termination for any non-discriminatory, non-retaliatory reason...such as for actual performance, behavior, etc. issues at work.
On the other hand, if you believe you did not in fact do anything wrong at work and the reasons that they were going to demote you or put you on an action plan were false or pretextual, then your termination was most likely due to your orientation or in retaliation. In that case, you would have a valid legal claim and should contact the state's equal/civil rights agency about filing a complaint.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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