From Sam's Desk

ATTENTION WHISTLEBLOWERS

 

As a responsible employee, you don’t want to stir up trouble in the workplace. You should also know, however, that you have rights and are protected under the law for reporting unlawful activities to your employer or to a regulatory agency of thegovernment.

 

Simply put, your employer may not take action against you because you have spoken out – that’s illegal retaliation. At least in California, you may speak out and report wrongs that you reasonably believe to be in violation of the law.  Provided that you are honest, reasonable and complaining in good faith, you may do so knowing that you have the support of whistleblower-retaliation statutes under the Labor Code.



A growing body of laws, both state and federal, is expanding the rights of employees against retaliation or other negative actions taken against honest whistleblowing employees. In general, it is your right to speak up and complain about wrongs in the workplace that you suspect to be in violation of the law. Today under the California Labor Code, you may report these matters directly to the employer or to the appropriate government agency.  



In particular, California employment laws permit you to report a variety of
suspected wrongs in violation of law. Provisions in California Labor Code
section 6310, protect your right to report safety problems and hazards that you reasonably perceive within your workplace, as well as discrimination or
harassment against fellow employees. Under Labor Code section 1102.5, you’re also entitled to speak out against other unfair business practices such as fraud or other misrepresentations. You are protected in these legal rights, whether employed in the private or the public sector -- in business or as a government employee.

 

Law and public policy today recognize that employee whistleblowers often swim against the tide of conformity and acquiescence in the workplace. This requires some measure of courage on the part of working people – often placing their financial security, their careers and livelihood in the
balance.  Please know, however, that you’re not required to be
certain that the conduct you’re complaining about is indeed unlawful – that’s something a lawyer can determine, and you don’t need to be a lawyer in order to be a whistleblower.  


In the State of California, your legal protection against whistleblower-retaliation is broad. Though these laws apply differently depending upon the facts of your particular situation, they are taken seriously and enforced in appropriate circumstances.

 

Stand up and speak out!! If you or a co-worker is a victim of unlawful retaliation, contact our offices for legal action tailored to the facts of your individual situation.



 

 

WHAT IS A
WHISTLEBLOWER?

 

A whistleblower is a person, often an employee, who tells the public or someone in authority about alleged dishonest or illegal activities. Such may occur in a government department, an organization, or within a company. The alleged misconduct includes the violation of a law, rule or regulation. It may involve a direct threat to public interest, such as
fraud, health and safety violations, or corruption. 

 

Whistleblowers may make their allegations internally, for example to other people within the organization or the company, or externally such as to law enforcement agencies, to the media or to other groups concerned with the issues. In the workplace, a whistleblower is an employee who stands up and speaks out about alleged health or safety violations, about fraud, corruption or other violations of the law, rule or regulation. Whistleblowers are very often employees who act out of conscience -- sometimes placing their livelihoods, their careers and reputations on the line.

 

An employee who “blows the whistle” need not be an expert – only to act reasonably and with a good faith belief in the allegations of the claim. An employee engaged in whistleblowing activity is not required to be a lawyer. He or she must have some reason to believe, in good faith, that the employer has violated some law, rule or regulation. In California, the labor code statutes broadly protect the disclosure of any action, practice or policy reasonably believed to be in violation of the law.

 

You are protected under law against retaliation from your employer for disclosing a whistleblower claim. You may lawfully report what you believe to be a danger to health or safety in violation of the law. You’re also protected if you refuse to go along with misconduct that violates the law. Should your employer fire or take other action against you for protected whistleblowing activity [and you’re able to prove the connection between your whistleblowing and the retaliation], you may have a viable whistleblower-retaliation case.

 

Should you have reason to believe that your employer has retaliated against you for disclosing the violation of some law, rule or regulation, you may be considered a whistleblower under most US state and federal whistleblower
statutes.  If you work in California and you believe that you have a whistleblower claim against your employer, we would definitely like to hear from you.

 

 

HAVE YOU BEEN
WRONGFULLY
TERMINATED?

 

Have you been wrongfully terminated from your employment?
Whether a termination is wrongful depends greatly on the circumstances. Length of time on the job, statements of company policy, the employee handbook, and other factors are all to be considered in answering this question.

 

You are also protected under law in other ways against unfair treatment in the workplace. Discrimination based upon age, race, color, religion, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship status,
disability or medical condition are today recognized as unlawful bases for a termination.

Your employment situation may be different, perhaps in significant ways, than that of other employees who are wrongfully terminated. The criteria for
determining when a termination is wrongful depends greatly on the
circumstances.

See "Don't Sleep on Your Rights." If you have questions about your
particular situation, you should consult a qualified employment lawyer. We are available to answer those questions, and would like to hear from you.