A Whistleblower is typically someone who informs the federal or state government of illegal wrongdoings by an employer against the government. As such the following three things are important for every employee in California to know.
1. Whistleblower Laws offer protection on Both the Federal and State Levels
The protections offered by federal and state laws help to prevent:
- Employers from stopping an employee from beginning a whistleblower lawsuit. That includes the creation of policies that make it against the rule for employees to bring to the government’s attention any illegal activities that the employer is engaged in.
- Employers from retaliation against an employee who “blows the whistle” on any illegal activities by the employer. That includes employees who act together or individually to bring illegal doings to the attention of the government.
- Employers from punishing employees who will not participate in illegal wrongdoings as part of their job.
- Employers cannot retaliate against an employee who was a whistleblower for a former job. That means a prior employer may not disclose that the employee was a whistleblower to a company seeking employment information on the employee. It also means that a prospective employer may not retaliate against an employee who was a whistleblower at a different organization during the application process.
2. What Constitutes Whistleblowing
Under whistleblower law, a whistleblower is an employee who discloses information to a source with the power to correct a situation where the employer is engaged in illegal wrongdoings.
That person may be another employee within the company – an HR manager with the authority to correct behaviors of senior management who are willfully breaking the law – A law enforcement bureau such as the sheriff when employee harassment is encouraged, or a federal or state bureau, such as the labor board when a company is breaking the labor law. In short, the power reported to does not have to be a government agency. It can be a person or department of the company the employee works for or a separate law enforcement bureau.
If you are an employee of a company, and you report to any power of authority to correct the wrongdoing, you are a whistleblower when the information you report includes:
- Any activity that violates a federal or state law
- Highlights noncompliance with federal or state law
- Violations that involve workplace conditions, unsafe working environments, or situations that violate workers’ rights
3. What Employment Lawyers Can Do
An employment lawyer can be one of the best resources for an employee who believes they are in a whistleblower situation. If you are not sure if the information you have violates whistleblower law, you can run it by an employment lawyer to see if the information meets the criteria.
Contact DLaw If You Suspect Employer Retaliation
Davtyan Law provides employment law services and protections to employees within the State of California who may be involved in workplace harassment, retaliation, or who have been wrongfully terminated. We work with employees of all levels including whistleblowers. Call us today at (818)-275-5799 if you feel subjected to retaliation due to reporting wrongdoings in your workplace.