According to the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), employees are a protected class of individuals described as any person employed by an employer, private or public, who, as whistleblowers, reveal information about illegal, immoral, or unsafe activity within an organization. This means employees throughout the state can safely expose employer misconduct or hazardous conditions without fear of retaliation.
The role of whistleblowers in uncovering wrongdoing and protecting the public interest is vital to California’s employment — no matter the city, county, or industry in which the work takes place.
What are the Whistleblower Protections in California?
California’s Whistleblower Protection Act protects employees who report violations of local, state, or federal laws. The law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report these violations to a government agency or a corporate manager.
If an employer retaliates against a whistleblower by taking an adverse employment action against them, the employee may be entitled to damages.
These damages may include:
- Lost wages and benefits.
- Litigation costs.
- Reasonable attorney’s fees.
- Damages for emotional distress.
- Punitive damages.
In addition, the California False Claims Act also provides whistleblower rewards and protection from retaliation. The law makes it a civil offense for companies, individuals, and other entities to knowingly:
- Submit false or fraudulent claims for payment.
- Misappropriate public property.
Recently, the California Supreme Court extended whistleblowing protection for employees by ruling that an employee who makes a whistleblower complaint to their employer may bring a retaliation claim even if the subject of the complaint was already known.
What Can I Do If My Employer Does Not Provide Protection from Whistleblower Retaliation?
While California state and federal laws are designed to protect employees from retaliation, they continue to work or return to work in the very place where they reported the wrongdoing. This can be difficult, especially when they are not receiving the necessary support from their employer. Or, worse, is a supervisor or manager retaliating against them.
If you are a whistleblower who is facing harassment, reduced responsibilities, demotion, or who has been terminated for reporting illegal, immoral, unsafe, or fraudulent activity in the workplace, you have additional legal rights that protect you from any form of workplace retaliation.
Call Our Employment LawAttorney for a Free Consultation Today
Contact Aryeh Leichter, the Leichter Law Firm, APC founder and employment law attorney in Los Angeles County today to discuss the legal remedies that may be available for your unique workplace circumstances today, starting with a free consultation by calling 818-915-6624 or contacting the firm online.