As this blog has discussed on previous occasions, employees in Los Angeles enjoy the protection of both federal laws and separate California laws that may offer California employees protection above and beyond what the laws of the United States require.
Among other things, the federal law protects employees from employer retaliation when they either oppose violations of federal anti-discrimination laws or assist with a federal investigation in to an employer's alleged violations.
To explain, an employee can feel free to participate in a federal investigation of the employer's practices by answering questions, giving testimony and the like. This is so even if it turns out the investigation is unfounded and, one can argue, even if the employee does not have the best of motives in participating.
Employees also have a lot of freedom to oppose unlawful discrimination in the workplace. In addition to filing a formal complaint, an employee can freely complain to internal management, human resources, co-workers and even someone who works for the media. They can also refuse to follow workplace rules and directions that the employee believes are discriminatory under federal law.
As a word of caution, though, in the case an employee who opposes discrimination, an employee is not free to complain to anybody about anything. General complaints about the workplace don't have to be tolerated by an employee, and even complaints about discrimination has to be based on a reasonable and good faith belief.
Still, federal authorities take retaliation claims very seriously, even if it turns out the underlying issue was not well-founded. Likewise, courts will vindicate an employee with a properly proven retaliation claim by awarding compensation and other relief.