Aryeh Leichter, the Los Angeles employment law attorney at the Leichter Law Firm, APC, knows Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 497 (SB 497) on October 8, 2023, which makes it easier for employees to establish retaliation claims in California.

Known as the Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Act, SB 497 goes into effect on January 1, 2024. It creates a rebuttable presumption of retaliation if an employer takes an adverse action against an employee within 90 days of engaging in a specific protected activity.

Here is what that means for California employees.

New Law Makes Establishing Retaliation Claims

SB 497 Makes it Easier for California Employees to Satisfy the Initial Burden to Establish Retaliation Occurred

An employee must first establish the first impression, accepted as correct until proven otherwise, that retaliation occurred by demonstrating that:

  • The employee engaged in a protected activity.
  • The employer engaged in an adverse action against the employee, including discharge, demotion, threat of discharge or demotion, suspension, pay cut, or reduced hours.
  • A causal connection between the protected activity and adverse action.

The burden then shifts to the employer to identify a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for the action. After that, the burden shifts back to the employee to show that the employer’s non-retaliatory reason was merely a pretext for retaliation.

SB 497 makes it easier for employees to satisfy their initial burden if the adverse action occurs within 90 days of engaging in protected activity. For example, if an employee lodges a complaint against his supervisor and is suspended within 90 days of complaining, the employee will likely satisfy his initial burden of establishing a prima facie case of retaliation.

With the passing of SB 497, California’s ever-changing employment landscape shifts again.

Contact Our Employment Law Attorney for Help Today

If you believe you have been retaliated against for reporting a protected activity in the California workplace, contact Aryeh Leichter, the Leichter Law Firm, APC founder, and employment law attorney in Los Angeles County today to discuss the legal remedies that may be available for your unique workplace circumstances, starting with a free consultation by calling (818)-915-6624 or contacting the firm online.

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