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Retaliation Spells Discrimination

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Anaheim, CARob Parks (not his real name pending a lawsuit) was a veteran with a California County probation department when he was terminated over a gun incident.

Although he was reinstated, Parks returned to a hostile workplace and faced retaliation for an honest mistake.

I accidentally fired a round from my gun into the floor," says Parks. "As crazy as it sounds, I forgot that I had loaded the gun and killed off the carpeting - thank God that's all that was damaged and that I remembered to aim the gun down and away. I had actually emptied my gun first to put on a different set of grips; the gun was in my hand and I thought it was empty."

But his superiors didn't see it that way. Parks was let go and was off work for about a year until he was reinstated, thanks to civil service protection. He was also reimbursed for the year and, although his back pay didn't fully cover his lost wages, his attorney advised Parks to settle. And he was anxious to get back to work.

discrimination and retaliation in the workplace""When I came back, I was discriminated against by my fellow workers," says Parks. "I was sent to a desk job and have been there for the past seven years, to a job nobody wants. As well, the department's policy is to transfer everyone every 18 months for professional growth development. I have been transferred once in seven years.

Here's the other thing - I have been passed over for promotion more times than I can count, even though I rated high on two supervisor tests and was placed in the number one group for promotion to probation officer #3. I have had standard evaluations for seven years and there were no unsatisfactory evaluations before the gun incident. I have talked to upper management and they told me that they can't forget the past and that I need to do more things to redeem myself. I have joined work-related committees, taken on extra duties and volunteered wherever and whenever possible.

I am now 56 years old and I feel at this point, it's clear that I am not getting the same consideration as younger employees with less experience and abilities. This is going to affect my pension - I won't be able to retire at the same rate as my contemporaries who are in higher management positions.

How long can they hold a grudge? When I returned to work I was 'welcomed back' by the deputy chief. He told me to work 8 to 5 - period. 'We want nothing extra from you,' he said. In other words, I came back to hostility. He has since retired but unfortunately, his legacy lives on.

We have civil service appeal rights so the incident that resulted in my being terminated is history, it has been resolved. However, my contention is that they are holding a grudge in retaliation for me exercising my rights. That is the bottom line.

If I go ahead with a lawsuit, I will be hated. I want to stand on my own abilities but nobody will recognize them. I have no option now; I have nothing to lose and have to take care of my family. As I understand, there are experts who will determine my pay benefits. What I should have expected in this 30 year career was substantial and I stand to lose a lot. I don't want to make waves but how long must I pay for this mistake? To my way of thinking, retaliation is discrimination.

According to the [California Chamber of Commerce website], "Adverse employment action" must be one that causes substantial and tangible harm, such as a change in compensation or position. Examples of adverse action include the following:
  • termination, refusal to hire, and denial of promotion.

  • other actions affecting employment such as threats, unjustified negative evaluations, unjustified negative references, or increased surveillance.

  • any other action such as an assault or unfounded civil or criminal charges that are likely to deter reasonable people from pursuing their rights.

California Labor Law Legal Help

If you are an employee in the state of California and are concerned about discrimination or harassment, please contact a [California Labor Law] lawyer who will evaluate your claim at no charge.
Click here for a free evaluation
or call 1-888-580-0698

READER COMMENTS

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Mi jefa se enojo conmigo xq no m presente a trabajar un sabado nunca avia faltado asi estuviera emferma y aparte de terminar mi trabajo ayudaba a ella todavia pero de ese dia ella se enojo conmigo m grita m dise q todo lo q ago esta mal y q los clientes se quejan y solo de mi trabajo y m dio avertensia y al tersero m dara firmar otro papel y al tersero m despedira pero solo lo ade conmigo m niegs las cosa y ella tiene q checat nuestro trabajo pero ella se va antes y si al queja se va contra nosotros cuamdo su respinsabilidad es de ella q los cuartos q limpiamos queden bien antes de rectar si pido un permiso m lo niega aun adi sea q yo este emferma m dise q tengo q llevar una hoja del doctor pero yo no puedo estar pagando siempre cuando este dolir de estomago lo traigo de anos peto m pongo mal aveses y el doctor no m ase nada ni lo de emfermedad no m quiete dar q xq no tiene gente pata trabajar pero eso no es culpa mia xq ellos pagan lo minimo y esta muy lejos para venir pireso la gente no trabaja ai espero su respuesta espero m puefan ayudar

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