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Retaliation and Whistleblowing

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Protecting Yourself from Whistleblower Retaliation

Reporting any employer violations or “blowing the whistle” on their fraudulent acts could be the most important decision of your career, and ultimately, your life. Wrongdoers can go to any length to hide their activities and remove any traces of their corruption. For such wrongdoers, this can also include acting against the real or suspected whistleblowers should they be exposed.

Blowing the Whistle

With the serious consequences of fraud and corruption becoming more apparent, more people recognized that getting involved is the right thing to do. Blowing the whistle on wrongdoers and holding them accountable must be done with all the concerns being assessed, such as your anonymity and the impact of personal involvement in the conduct.

Who is a Whistleblower?

Whistleblowers are people who come forward to disclose the evidence they have of any wrongdoing.  Whistleblowers play a critical role in letting the government and the public know:

  • That a law or regulation has been violated
  • That a government contractor has cheated on a contract or misused government funds
  • That a company is lying about its financial situation or cheating on its taxes
  • That a company has created a danger to public health and safety

and much more.

Whistleblowers themselves may have participated in the fraud unwillingly or unknowingly, but that should not deter them from coming forward and reporting these activities.

Are Whistleblowers Protected by California Law?

Yes. California whistleblower protection laws prohibit employers from any retaliation targeting employers reporting suspected violations of laws, regulations, and public policy.

In other words, California laws against whistleblower retaliation would protect:

  • An employee who reports suspected criminal activity by his/her employer to a government or law enforcement agency.
  • An employee who reports a suspected violation of a law or regulation to a supervisor or other person at the employer who has the authority to investigate the violation.
  • An employee who reports California wage/hour law or other labor board complaints to the Labor Commissioner.
  • A public employee who reports economically wasteful, incompetent, or inefficient activity to the California State Auditor.

What is Whistleblower Retaliation?

There are several forms of retaliation against an employee whistleblower. It may be an outright termination and loss of the employee’s job or a constructive way of terminating the employee by making working conditions intolerable and virtually unsustainable for the employee to resign.

Other forms may include:

  • Demotion
  • Obstruction of any promotions, in spite of the warranted merits and qualifications
  • Threats of deportation against immigrant employees
  • Denial of access to training, professional development opportunities, and resources necessary for the employee to do their job properly.

What Options do I Have as a Victim of Whistleblower Retaliation?

Remember that you are protected by California whistleblower protection laws as an employee if you face retaliation for blowing the whistle on workplace violations and have the right to sue your employer for damages. These damages could include:

  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Compensation for any physical and mental damages
  • In some cases, punitive damages and/or reimbursement

Can an Employment Attorney Help with My Whistleblower Retaliation Case?

If you believe you may have suffered retaliation as a result of reporting workplace violations, contact us and Schedule a Free Consultation.

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