California Statutes Protecting Whistleblowers from Retaliation
California whistleblower protection law has powerful protection for the employees who work in the Golden State. Whistleblowing refers to when an employee blows the whistle on their employer by reporting their misconduct. Whistleblowers are of high importance as they draw attention to criminal matters affecting Californian residents.
Whistleblower retaliation in California may take many forms, but the most common one is being fired. Other forms may include where an employee is demoted or denied promotion for which they would otherwise be considered, being isolated from other workers, or being denied access to several resources in the workplace.
California whistleblower law prohibits employers from retaliating against any employee who reports violations of law or non-compliance with the local, state or federal rules and regulations. In this law, the employees are also protected against retaliation for refusing to participate in activities that can be a violation of the law. It is a form of wrongful termination to fire an employee for whistleblowing in California.
The law protects employees who report suspected illegal behavior internally to a supervisor or a fellow employee. The employees are also protected if they believe that they have been retaliated against based on the employer’s belief that an employee has either already disclosed or may later disclose a violation law. Additionally, employees are allowed by the California whistleblower law to report violations of local rules and regulations, such as city charters and municipal codes.
An employee fired or otherwise retaliated against for reporting a violation of the law can file a California whistleblower retaliation lawsuit. However, they have to first notify the California Labor and Workplace Development Agency as well as the employer before proceeding to file. In case an employer retaliates against an employee for reporting labor or occupational health/safety law violations, the employee has to file a complaint about this whistleblower retaliation with the California Labor Commissioner.
Victims of whistleblower retaliation under the California Whistleblower Act that applies to state government employees may go through a different process when filing a lawsuit. Before filing a lawsuit against a state agency that employed them, an employee must file a complaint with the California State Personnel Board.
The damages that an employee can receive from an employer as compensation for whistleblower retaliation vary depending on the facts and legal basis of their whistleblower lawsuit.