A whistleblower is a person who comes forward and publicly alleges that an individual, company or organization has defrauded the United States government or a state government. In short, a whistleblower reports fraud. On a construction site, public works fraud makes the rich companies richer and it can put the public and workers at risk.
Even when government money is not involved, construction safety issues that go unreported put lives in danger. It is up to the employees to report what they believe are illegal acts by employers. In many cases, whistleblowers are more effective than regulation when it comes to rooting out illegal activity by employers.
Construction Site Whistleblowers
There are many people on the typical construction site who are in a position to report construction fraud and safety violations, including laborers, safety engineers, resident engineers, foremen, floor people, superintendents, quality control inspectors, business analysts, billing supervisors and accountants, to name a few.
Some construction site violations that whistleblowers have reported include:
- Failing to follow OSHA safety requirements and creating an unsafe work environment
- Using non-Union labor when the construction contract requires Union workers
- Failing to pay proper wages under the contract wage rate
- Billing for labor and materials, work or equipment that was not used on the job
- Falsification of minority business ownership requirements
- Falsely claiming to use green building products
- Falsification of energy certification or Title 24 standards
As any Los Angeles employment lawyer will tell you, the State of California and the federal government have agencies that look out for employees in the workplace. At the federal level, the agency is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA’s California equivalent is the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).
Both agencies make it possible for employees to report safety violations anonymously. You can report violations directly to the agency or through a Los Angeles employment attorney.
California law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report safety violations. Any employee with first-hand knowledge of violations can report the violations to the appropriate agencies.
Contact a Los Angeles employment lawyer if your employer terminated you or is treating you poorly because you reported your employer to a government agency for OSHA or DOSH violations. You have a right to inform without fear of retaliation, and an experienced attorney can help you.