Starting in 2014, California will add new protections for “whistleblowers.” The new law will protect employees who complain internally within the company, as well as externally to government agencies, as the law currently provides.
Under current law, an employer may not make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation or policy that prevents an employee from disclosing information to a government agency, if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal law. It also prohibits retaliating against an employee for reporting such information to a government agency.
The new law will expressly protect whistleblowers who complain within the company to “a person with authority over the employee” or to “another employee who has the authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance.” This means that employees are no longer required to take the step of finding the appropriate government agency, and making an official report or disclosure. Reporting to a supervisor, members of management, or an investigator or quality assurance employee of the company may suffice.
The new law also expands the scope of illegal activity to include local rules and regulations, such as San Francisco’s new law protecting requests for flexible work schedule to assist with caregiving.
The new law amends the California Labor Code §1102.5 and may be found here.