If you have been terminated or retaliated against for expressing concerns about workplace health or safety issues, fraudulent business practices, including violation of any federal, state or local law, you may be entitled to protection as a whistleblower under California Labor Code Section 1102.5.
“An employer, or any person acting on behalf of the employer, shall not retaliate against an employee for disclosing information,or because the employer believes that the employee disclosed or may disclose information……, to a person with authority over the employee or another employee who has the authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance….if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation of or noncompliance with a local, state, or federal rule or regulation, regardless of whether disclosing the information is part of the employee’s job duties.”
Furthermore, any employee reporting illegal activity in the workplace is protected by the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) and other federal laws designed to encourage the identification of illegal activity without fear of reprisals.
Common Reports by Employees
There are many ways that an employer’s misconduct can put others at risk of financial or physical harm. Employees can do the right thing by reporting many types of conduct, including:
- Health and safety violations
- Employment or labor law violations
- Embezzlement or other financial crimes
- Healthcare fraud, tax fraud, or other types of fraud against the government
If you report any type of unlawful activity or cooperate with an investigation by authorities, the law protects you from any retaliation by your employer. This means your employer may not:
- Terminate you based on the whistleblowing
- Demote you or reduce your hours or pay
- Transfer you to a less desirable assignment or location
- Harass you or discipline you
- Deny you the same treatment as other employees
“Adverse” And “Negative” Defined
To file a retaliation claim, an employee needs to show that the employer took an “adverse employment action” against the employee. An “adverse employment action” is a legal term. It means that the employer made a decision that negatively impacts an applicant or employee’s job performance or opportunity for advancement or promotion in a significant way. Common examples include firing, failing to hire or promote, demotion, a reduction in salary, and a significant loss of benefits.
Talk to a Whistleblower Attorney
Before blowing the whistle, it is a good idea to seek the advice of an attorney in your state, to ensure a whistleblower law or a similar law may protect you.
If you have seen your employer conduct an illegal act and you are not sure how to handle the situation, contact us at Victory Law Group, LLP today. As a whistleblower, you do have rights that need protecting.