Whistleblowers are individuals who report misconduct to the authority or public. Whistleblowing can also occur when an employee reports illegal actions at work such as engaging in fraud, cooking the books, producing dangerous, faulty products or filing wrong information on their tax returns.
Whistleblowers may file a suit or lodge a petition to higher authorities that will lead the organization or a department to be investigated. There are laws that protect whistleblowers for example, an employer cannot fire an employee for blowing the whistle.
In the year 1989, the Whistleblower Protection Act became federal law in California. Whistleblower rights laws and regulations ensure freedom of speech in certain cases for suppliers and employees.
California laws for Whistleblowers
If you’re a victim of whistleblower retaliation, California laws gives employees the right to sue their employer for damages. If you file a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against your employer, you might be entitled to:
- Compensation for physical or mental suffering
- Loss of career opportunities
- Lost wages
- Punitive damages
In 2014 California’s whistleblower law was strengthened by adding three additional laws.
- Reporting a suspected violation internally or externally to a public hearing or investigation
- The liability now extends to anyone acting on behalf of the employer
- Anyone eligible for protection under California’s whistleblower laws can now file a claim for damages by the retaliation.
There are two forms of whistleblowers: External and Internal
Internal whistleblowers are those who inform senior officers such as heads of human resources or CEOs that there is abuse, fraud or harassment.
Is a concept used when whistleblowers tell people elsewhere such as journalists, high-level politicians or police to expose wrongdoings.
Public law regulates interactions between individuals, the government and comprises three forms of legislation:
The Constitutional Act regulates the government’s values and forces, and the interactions between the various governmental entities. Criminal law limits conduct that affects the public or nation’s safety and welfare. Administrative law governs government agencies ‘ activities and procedures. The judiciary interprets laws and its legislative body is referred to as case law.
What is Whistleblower Retaliation?
Whistleblower retaliation is when the company or employer takes action against the employee because they filed a complaint. Retaliation can lead to wrongful termination or making the working conditions intolerable that the employee has no choice but to resign. Retaliation can also include:
- Firing the employee
- Reducing their pay
- Giving them a negative review or evaluation
- Failure to promote
- Threat to calling ICE
Employers are not to retaliate against any employee who believes and reports any of the
- Possible criminal acts by the employer
- Violations of the law by the employer
- Wage and hour violations
- Labor violations done conflicting with the labor commissioner
How to Avoid Whistleblower Claims?
- Obeying the law is the simplest solution. Do all in compliance with the law and resolve employee concerns prior to becoming legal cases. Establish and commit to a plan to manage complaints.
- Have a complaint policy in place and make sure to abide by it
- Don’t retaliate against the employee
- If the report was issued internally, verify that the claim is valid and that it is handled promptly. Put the case aside if the argument proves to be true. If you do not prosecute and troubleshoot, employees can’t do anything other than go out and inform the authorities.
An employee or contractor must collaborate and stop when they can’t avoid whistleblowing. Find an experienced lawyer who can help to manage and protect both your integrity and reputation.
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Employment Law – Civil Rights – Personal Injury