A whistleblower is an employee who reports some kind of violation of state or federal law by his or her employer. This violation could be against the reporting employee (which is usually the case for sexual harassment claims) or it could be a general violation. California’s state government, as well as the federal government, has its own laws that protect whistleblowers from punishment for filing a claim or reporting a violation. As a California employee, it’s important for you to know the state and federal laws that protect you if you ever find yourself as a whistleblower in your workplace.
What Are the Federal Whistleblower Protection Laws?
There are several federal acts that will protect any employee who complains about general safety or health dangers in the workplace or surrounding environment that were caused by the employer. Some of these laws include the Clean Air Act, the Energy Reorganization Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, or the Water Pollution Control Act. There are two other general federal whistleblower protection laws: the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the Whistleblower Act. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act prohibits anyone from suspending, firing, threatening, or harassing an employee if that employee has provided information to law enforcement relating to a federal offense. The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 protects federal whistleblowers who work for a federal agency and report federal government misconduct. The Occupational Health and Safety Act will also protect almost any whistleblowing claim issues.
What Are California’s Whistleblower Protection Laws?
Beyond general laws like the Whistleblower Protection Act, California as its own whistleblower laws. Under California law, your employer is prohibited from creating or enforcing any rules that prevent you from whistleblowing. California will also protect you from whistleblower retaliation, refusal to participate in illegal activity, or whistleblowing at a past job.
If you think you should blow the whistle at your workplace, but you are unsure of the consequences or how the process works, you should contact a whistleblower attorney. Our Los Angeles lawyers will give you advice on whistleblower laws and how they can protect you.