When an employee decides to report fraud or unlawful activity at work, they are referred to as a “whistleblower.” Reporting can be through internal channels or to government or law enforcement authorities. In either situation, whistleblowers have important protections under both federal and California law.
It is important for anyone who was terminated after reporting wrongdoing to seek counsel and representation from whistleblower lawyers near you. Our legal team at Minnis & Smallets LLP is here to help.
Under the law, a whistleblower is an employee who reports unlawful activity to various channels, including a supervisor, an investigator, a law enforcement agency, or a government agency that oversees the conduct of the employer. You can also obtain whistleblower protections for refusing to engage in unlawful activity when requested by an employer, or when testifying or assisting in a government investigation of your employer.
There are many types of misconduct that can lead someone to be a whistleblower, including:
If anyone believes they are a whistleblower and were terminated or otherwise experienced retaliation, they should seek legal assistance immediately.
The California Labor Code has provisions that prohibit retaliation against whistleblowers by their employers. Section 1102.5 sets out that:
There are also federal laws that specifically protect employees who report fraud against the federal government, such as Medicare fraud. It is important to note that these protections are in place even if there was no violation, as long as the employee has reasonable cause to believe that there was one.
Despite protections against retaliation, many whistleblowers are terminated from their jobs. If this happens, the employee can take legal action against the employer to seek relief, which might include reinstatement to their position, lost pay, and more. In some cases, relief might include compensation for damage to their professional reputation, punitive damages, or injunctive relief to stop the employer from violating the law.
If you believe that you might have a whistleblower case, you should not delay in meeting with a whistleblower attorney. We can evaluate whether your rights were violated and determine the best course of action to seek the relief and compensation you deserve.
At the employment law firm of Minnis & Smallets LLP, we know how important whistleblower protections are for employees to help keep the workplace safe and protect their rights. We take on whistleblower cases and stand up for clients fired for doing the right thing. Contact us to learn more about whistleblower lawyers near you.