Whistleblower Attorneys Explain Whistleblower Rights in California
Employers and employees are likely to struggle with the impact of the current pandemic for some time to come. In fact, some U.S. health experts suggest the pandemic could continue until late 2021. For some employees, they are experiencing unsafe work conditions that put them at risk of suffering infection or harm through other means.
If you find that your employer is violating state, local or federal laws on workplace safety, then you have the right to file a report with the authorities. Your employer cannot retaliate against you for whistleblowing, such as by demoting you or terminating your position.
California Whistleblower Rights
You have workplace protection rights under the California Whistleblower Protection Act (CWPA). The CWPA allows certain California agencies to investigate and act upon reports of employers who may be breaking the law. In addition, the CWPA prevents employers from retaliating against employees who file reports of alleged wrongdoing.
Employers can suffer serious consequences if they violate the CWPA or the California Labor Code by retaliating against a whistleblower. For instance, the employer may have to pay damages suffered by the employee, such as lost wages and benefits.
Examples of whistleblowing in California may include:
- Reporting corruption or fraud
- Reporting sexual harassment or racial discrimination to a state or federal agency
- Reporting workplace safety violations
There are also laws that protect employees working within certain industries. Health care workers have whistleblower protections under California Health and Safety Code §1278.5. Workers in hospitals and other health care settings may report unsafe work conditions or patient safety issues to the proper authorities. Like with other California labor laws, health care providers cannot retaliate against workers who report safety issues.
California Labor Code §6311 keeps employers from retaliating against employees who refuse to perform job duties that are in violation of health and safety laws.
We encourage you to contact us if you have questions about California labor laws or whistleblower protections. It is recommended to speak with an employment law attorney if you believe your employer is in violation of state or federal law.
Federal Whistleblower Protections
There are multiple federal whistleblower protection laws that protect federal employees and contractors. Perhaps the most well-known is the Whistleblower Protection Act.
Much like with California’s law, employers cannot retaliate against current and former federal workers for reporting violations of the law, gross incompetence, fraud, abuse of power and substantial threats to public safety.
Employers may not retaliate against federal workers for filing a whistleblower claim. If an employer retaliates against a whistleblower, it may suffer penalties and may have to pay the whistleblower’s damages.
Additional federal laws that protect whistleblowers include the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Energy Reorganization Act and the Water Pollution Control Act.
Contact Our Los Angeles Whistleblower Attorneys for More Information
Contact us for a free consultation if you have questions about whistleblower rights in California or want to discuss whether to file a whistleblower claim against an employer. Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. can help you review your potential options.