Updated: Apr 14
Learn about labor law protections for whistleblowers and the biggest wrongful termination settlement in California.
An employee who suspects AND reports someone at work is breaking the law is classified as a "whistleblower." The offense could be directed at the reporting employee, as with sexual harassment claims, or it could be more common, such as unlawful polluting, securities breaches, and so on. Whistleblowers are often wrongfully terminated from their position after revealing an unethical incident, even though California labor law is intended to protect them from wrongful termination. But, if you've been wrongfully terminated for blowing the whistle, what do you do?
That said, let's talk about California whistleblower law and possible claims, as they would be expertly handled by a California Employment Lawyer.
California Employment Law, Wrongful Termination, and California Whistleblower Protection.
There are several state and federal whistleblower rights statutes in place that protect all public and private employees who disclose employment violations. Federal whistleblower rights regulations, such as the federal Clean Air Act, Toxic Substance Control Act, Pollution Prevention Act, and other OSHA Whistleblower Protections, make it unconstitutional to terminate employees retribution for filing a lawsuit or reporting wrongdoing, such as health and safety hazards or financial misappropriation.
Similarly, most states find it illegal to terminate workers for disclosing wrongdoing by their employers or any form of corruption. However, these rules differ in terms of who is insured (whether public or private employees) and to whom the defense is provided (such as co-workers and other business entities).
So, let's suppose you've reported a case of sexual harassment, and your manager, rather than coping with the problem, has preferred to fire you as the "troublemaker" instead of disciplining the harasser. Maybe you spotted your manager breaking clean water rules by dumping garbage in a place where it could contaminate nearby bodies of water, and they threatened to fire you because you reported them. So, what exactly do you do?
Depending on the nature of your claim, various labor laws and regulatory departments can provide you with different policies for California whistleblower protection. For example, suppose your employer retaliates against you by taking adverse personnel action because you participated in protective conduct related to occupational safety and health. In that case, you can file a lawsuit with OSHA.
Similarly, you can have private rights of redress (i.e., you will sue your employer) if certain labor laws are violated.
If you were wrongfully terminated for being a whistleblower, you could consult with an Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles about filing a California wrongful termination claim. An experienced California Employment Attorney, especially one that focuses on whistleblower lawsuits, will help you recover unpaid salary, back pay, and settlement expenses, among other things. They will even remind you about operating processes that will safeguard your interests.
Administrative trials are often prosecuted by the government, which means you may not be charged. Still, you will be able to take advantage of the government's virtually unlimited leverage in defending your allegations.
What would you do if you see anything at work that needs to improve, but your manager wants to take retaliatory action? Will you be covered, or will your boss be free to fire you at any time? How far would does the right thing put your career in jeopardy?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a range of laws aimed at safeguarding whistleblowers. The Whistleblower Protection Scheme of OSHA enforces the legislative and administrative protections of over twenty separate laws that cover workers who disclose violations of numerous occupational safety and other conditions. Indeed, the Whistleblower Protection Program covers those who pose questions on a wide range of issues affecting the whistleblower's safety and well-being.
This policy, for example, protects those who report concerns about aircraft, private motor c