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File a Retaliation Complaint

When you exercise your workplace rights, you are protected under anti-retaliation laws. Activities that are protected from retaliation include:

  • Filing a wage claim or reporting a labor law violation to the Labor Commissioner's Office.
  • Complaining about unpaid wages to your employer.
  • Assisting in an investigation of your employer by a government agency.
  • Refusing to work in unsafe conditions.

What is Retaliation?

Retaliation occurs when an employer takes actions such as firing a worker or reducing hours or pay because the worker took steps to enforce his or her labor rights.

Examples of Retaliation Include:

  • Termination, suspension, transfer, or demotion.
  • Reduction in pay or hours.
  • Disciplinary action or threats.
  • Assaults or unfounded civil or criminal charges.

Immigration-related retaliation practices are prohibited under California law.

It is against the law for your employer or your employer's attorney to report or threaten to report your immigration status because you have exercised your workplace rights. For example, it is unlawful for employers and their attorneys from taking the following actions against workers who exercise their workplace rights:

  • Contact or threaten to contact immigration authorities about you or your family members.
  • File or threaten to file a false police report against you.
  • Use the federal E-Verify system to check your employment status in a manner not required by federal law.
  • Request documents in addition to or different from those required under federal law to show work authorization or refuse to honor documents that appear to be genuine.

How to File a Retaliation Complaint

  • Complete the retaliation complaint form, available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog
  • Include copies of documents that support your complaint (do not send originals).
  • In most cases, you must file a retaliation complaint within six months of the retaliatory action.
  • For work done in Northern California (all areas north of Bakersfield):

    Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
    Retaliation Complaint Investigation Unit
    2031 Howe Ave., Ste. 100
    Sacramento, CA 95825

  • For work done in Southern California (all areas south of Bakersfield):

    Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
    Retaliation Complaint Investigation Unit
    605 W. Santa Ana Blvd. Bldg. 28, Room 625
    Santa Ana, CA 92701

Learn More

How to Report Retaliation

Available in
English Spanish Chinese Korean Tagalog Vietnamese

What Happens Next

After you file the complaint, an investigator will contact your employer and any witnesses who have relevant information. The investigator will try to help the parties reach a settlement. If there is no settlement agreement, the Labor Commissioner's Office will make a decision that may require the employer to pay for your lost wages, rehire you (if you were unlawfully fired), and stop further retaliation.

For more information on retaliation complaints, visit the Labor Commissioner's website.

Garment factory worker:  I was never paid overtime wages, so I told the investigators from the Labor Commission.  Boss threatened deportation, but I knew I was protected from threats after I assisted with the investigation of my employer.