California employees who report wrongdoing have protections under whistleblower laws. It is important to understand these rights and enforce them. When employers get away with retaliation, it discourages future whistleblowers from coming forward. By enforcing your legal right to report wrongdoing, you are making all the workplaces of California a safer place for employees. A civil lawsuit can also protect you from any financial losses you suffer as a result of unlawful retaliation by your employer.
California law provides strong protection for whistleblowers. California Labor Code section 1102.5 prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for reporting – either internally or externally to a government agency – information that the employee reasonably believes to show conduct that violates the law. Under this law, whistleblowers who disclose information about their employer’s unlawful conduct – such as discrimination, wage and hour violations, safety violations, or fraud – are protected from retaliation.
In addition, a number of government agencies have whistleblower protection programs. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration maintains a whistleblower program to protect employees who report specific violations of statutory workplace safety rules. No employer can take adverse action against an employee for engaging in activities protected by OSHA’s whistleblower protection laws. “Adverse actions” can include firing, demotions, cutting pay or hours, denying benefits, and other subtle tactics. It can also include blatant harassment or threats.
The California Whistleblower Protection Act affords protections to state employees. This Act protects state employees who report waste, fraud, abuse of authority, violations of law, or threats to public health. The Act also designates the State Auditor to investigate such reports of wrongdoing.
There are many other whistleblower statutes under state and federal law. Many are specific to a particular sector or industry. This is why it is important to consult with a whistleblower attorney about your legal protections as soon as you learn of wrongdoing. An attorney will be able to advise you on what laws exist to protect you in your particular circumstances.
San Francisco employees have the right to report wrongdoing to the proper authorities. At Minnis & Smallets, we fight hard to protect this right. Our experienced San Francisco whistleblower lawyers have helped many employees defend their right to be free from retaliation after appropriately reporting wrongdoing. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.