If you have been demoted at work, then there is a need for you to properly understand what counts as a wrongful demotion and how this can lead to a potential lawsuit against your employer with help from a San Francisco wrongful demotion attorney. In general, an individual must be in possession of an employment contract or must have suffered some form of discrimination which had led to the demotion before they seek legal redress for such cases as this.

The Circumstances of Demotion

Before the decision as to whether you have been wrongly demoted or not is made, there have to be certain situations that would already have been played out. In certain cases, a demotion may be the correct choice to make for a company, especially if such a company has chosen not to terminate the employment of a staff member that has been found lacking, or in error of the company’s rules and regulations, or one that has been found guilty of breaching contract agreed upon by both parties – the employer and employee. In certain cases, an employer or a supervisor may hire an employee on the basis that they will deliver certain outcomes over a period, however, if at the end of such a period, results which correspond to the realistic expectations of the employer are nor delivered, then, a demotion may be a better line of action. However, if there was a valid increase in the statistics towards the achievement of the set goals, 

then, a demotion from the employer would count as a wrongful demotion.

Going Around the Employee

In some cases, employees can use negative tactics to increase their chances of getting others demoted at work for invalid reasons. In such cases as this, other employees may approach supervisors or top-level management staff to badmouth another, painting them as irresponsible and thus demanding that the employer takes a biased step towards punishing the unsuspecting employee. The false statement which has been uttered against such an employee can harm their chances of getting a promotion at the company and may also tarnish their reputation, leading to termination of employment or a demotion as subtle tactics are used by another colleague to force the employee out.

Hostile Work Environment

When an employer aims to force an employee out, chances are high that they will create a work environment that is too hostile for the employee to survive in. While the company can initiate this, it could also claim that such an employee is creating a hostile work environment for others through constant outbursts, negative statements made in full view of other employees and other allegations. There are also instances where multiple top-level staff may decide to frustrate an employee out of the system by conspiring to make allegations that are untrue and unfounded. This may generally form a basis for demotion or in other cases, termination of employment. When in such a situation as this, it is important that the employee consults with a top-level lawyer before seeking any action for the demotion which has been handed down.


In certain cases, some employees may conspire to make the life of another “a living hell” by filing a lawsuit against such an individual instead of taking it up with the company. Cases such as this may be aimed at getting such an employee booted out of the system or in other cases aimed at causing the employer to demote such a target. If the target employee, however, has experience dealing with such a hostile environment or has coached another through such a situation as this, he/she will most likely become a greater threat. Getting to know about the conspiracy can help such an employee better avoid the lawsuit or help him/her avoid physical altercations which may be used as a basis for the termination of their appointment.

Legal Vs. Strategic Approach

In some cases, you may not need to file a lawsuit to address this condition. Certain cases may require that you reach a settlement agreement with the employer, especially if you have a valid case that could cost such an employer several hundreds of thousands or millions. While you may not push the case to court, you can creatively use a lawyer in a variety of other ways rather than file a lawsuit. If the employer has been found to have been biased in their actions and/or decision to demote the employee or they have made such a decision to retaliate certain actions of the employee, then, the individual might have grounds for filing a wrongful demotion suit and also a breach of the employment contract.

Handling a Wrongful Demotion at Work

Truth be told, for most people, a demotion at work could be worse than getting terminated as an employee of such a company. This especially holds true when the employee knows such disciplinary action is unjust and outright illegal.

Regardless of the legal action, you may have planned, there is a need for you to know how best to handle this career-related challenge. Below are some tips on how to handle such situations:

–         Find a Support Network

If you are a victim of wrongful demotion at work, you should find a support network outside of your office. Talking about your frustrations helps but it can also endanger your lawsuit if you choose to discuss it with other employees.

–         Gather More Information

While you are frustrated about the latest development, make sure that this does not cloud your sense of judgment. Instead, take active steps to gather information about your demotion. You can also approach the human resource department for clarity on the development. If there is no HR department, take up the matter with the executive arm, requesting a review of the decision.

–         Prepare to Address the Issue at Subsequent Job Interviews

While most people become frustrated with demotions, others cannot bear to stay a week, month, or a year longer at such establishment and therefore search for greener pastures. While this is a great step in the right direction, you may be faced with questions regarding your demotion at other interviews and this is why it is essential that you prepare to answer such questions as candidly and as professionally as possible.


By: Fred Geonetta

Frederick J. Geonetta is a graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of Law. His legal practice is entirely devoted to litigation. Mr. Geonetta has spent the past 25 years in private practice representing both plaintiffs and defendants who have been harmed or wronged by the actions of others or who have been falsely accused of causing harm to others. He represents clients across the U.S. and international clients who seek U.S. legal advice or representation.