Whistleblower Protections Attorneys

It is the public policy of the State of California to encourage employees to notify an appropriate government or law enforcement agency, person with authority over the employee, or another employee with authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance, and to provide information to and testify before a public body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry, when they have reason to believe their employer is violating a state or federal statute, or violating or not complying with a local, state or federal rule or regulation.

A whistleblower is an employee that disclose information that he or she reasonably believes violates state or federal law; or local, state or federal rule or regulation; or involves employee safety or health. An employer may not retaliate against an employee who is a whistleblower, or against an employee that refuses to participate in an activity that he or she believes would result in violation of state or federal laws.

Two main statutes that prohibit employers from retaliating against its employees for reporting conduct they reasonably believe is illegal are the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Labor Code section 1102.5.

The Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits retaliation against any person for making a complaint under the FEHA, for assisting another in making such a complaint or for opposing any action in the workplace that would constitute a violation of the FEHA.

Labor Code section 1102.5 prohibits retaliation against an employee by an employer for disclosing information that the employee reasonably believes is a violation of law to a person who has authority to investigate or correct the violation, and for refusing to participate in illegal activity. One way to establish a prima facie case under this statute is to show the employee (1) complained about the conduct that he or she reasonably believed to violate the law; (2) the complaints were received by the employer; (3) the employer negatively altered the terms and conditions of the employee’s employment; and (4) these actions were taken because the employee complained.Once an employee establishes the above elements, the employer would need to prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that it would have taken the same action in the absence of the employee’s protected activity.

An employee can also bring a retaliation claim under Labor Code section 6310.  Under this section, prohibited retaliation includes discharge, threatened discharge, demotion, suspension or refusing to renew an employment contract.  As long as the employee made a health or safety complaint in good faith, it does not matter for purposes of a wrongful termination action that the employee did not specify the particular safety statute or regulation the employer was allegedly violating.

If your rights have been violated, you may be entitled to damages.

Under state and federal law, you might be able to recover damages, such as emotional distress and lost wages. Additionally, under the FEHA, Labor Code sections 1102.5 or 6310, as well as federal laws you may be awarded punitive damages as well as your attorney fees and costs if you prevail.

Contact us today for a case evaluation.  

If you have been wronged by your employer, you may be scared and unsure of your rights. If you are interested in learning more about your rights, discussing your potential whistleblower claims and obtaining legal advice from an employment attorney, please contact the Avloni Law Firm today for a confidential consultation.

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