Whistleblower protection laws in California are designed to safeguard employees who find that their company engages in illegal behavior. California law encourages employees to report fraudulent conduct, wage and hour violations, discrimination, harassment, or other unlawful conduct, either internally or externally, without fear of reprisal.

So, let's talk about whistleblower laws and your rights, as they are often handled by our California Employment Law Attorneys.

best employment lawyers in los angeles

How Do You Define "Whistleblowing"?

When an employee "blows the whistle" on their employer by reporting their misconduct, this is known as whistleblowing.

A violation of a state or federal law, a violation or noncompliance with a local, state, or federal rule, or providing employees with harmful working circumstances are all examples of misconduct.

Whistleblowing can be done in a variety of ways, including:

  • Internally, reporting suspected illegal activity to a supervisor or another employee with the power to investigate, find, or correct the infraction.
  • External reporting of suspected illegal activity to a state or federal agency.

If employees have reasonable grounds to believe a violation has occurred, they can blow the whistle and remain protected under the law. The employee does not need to be absolutely positive, nor do they need to have definitive proof in hand.

los angeles employment attorneys

Even if the underlying conduct is ultimately judged to be legal, California's whistleblower laws protect employees who had a valid motive for exposing possibly illegal conduct in the first place.

That said, you should consult with a California Labor Lawyer to avoid any complications.

California's Whistleblower Protection Laws

The California Whistleblower Protection Act is the state's primary safeguard for whistleblowers. Employees who report any unlawful conduct, whether internal or external, including violations of local, state, and federal laws and regulations, are protected under the Act.

Employers that suspect an employee has given or will disclose information regarding unlawful activity are prohibited from retaliating against the employee, whether or not the person has actually blown the whistle or intends to do so. Whistleblower rules in California also protect employees from reprisal if they refuse to participate in illegal activity.

Employees of government agencies are covered by Section 8547.1 of the Government Code. State personnel who report instances of "waste, fraud, [and] misuse of authority," as well as any "danger to public health," are likewise protected under the statute.

Employees who expose billing fraud and other fraudulent conduct directed against the state or other governmental organizations are protected from retaliation under the California False Claims Act (FCA). When a medical office staff reports acts of Medicare fraud, for example, or when a government contractor issues fraudulent bills, the FCA may apply.

Before making any life-changing decisions, consider meeting with a prescreened California Employment Law Attorney to help.

What If Your Boss Tries To Get Back At You?

Any adverse employment action taken against an employee in reaction to an actual or suspected report of unlawful conduct is referred to as retaliation.

For example, when an employee blows the whistle, an employer may be guilty of retaliation if:

  • The employee is fired.
  • The employee is denied a promotion.
  • Refuses to hire the applicant for a particular job.
  • Separates the employee from the rest of the team.
  • Denies promotion or professional development possibilities.
  • Denies the employee the resources they need to complete their work.
  • Harasses, threatens, or otherwise makes the employee's work environment unfriendly.
  • Threatens to take action against the employee or their family because of their immigration status.

If you've been retaliated against, you have the right to file a retaliation claim against your employer. When this happens, it's best to have a California Employment Attorney at your side to help you gather evidence and beat deadlines.

los angeles employment lawyers

What Can You Do About Retaliation?

If an employee is retaliated against for actual or perceived whistleblowing, they may be entitled to one or more legal remedies.

The employee might ask to be returned to their old position and obtain benefits that they were previously denied. In addition, they can sue for compensation for lost wages while they are unemployed.

A disgruntled employee might also demand damages for their pain and suffering and emotional distress as a result of the retaliation.

Find A California Employment Lawyer Near Me 

1000Attorneys.com is a California Bar Association Certified Lawyer Referral Service that can refer you to an attorney best fit for your case. You can complete our submission form or reach us through our 24/7 live chat for a free initial consultation.