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Whistleblowers Are Protected

Thomas M. Lee
Whistleblowers are Protected

It is the public policy of the State of California to encourage employees to notify an appropriate government or law enforcement agency, person with authority over the employee, or another employee with authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance, and to provide information to and testify before a public body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry, when they have reason to believe their employer is violating a state or federal statute, or violating or not complying with a local, state or federal rule or regulation.

Who Is Protected?

Pursuant to California Labor Code Section 1102.5, employees are the protected class of individuals. “Employee” means any person employed by an employer, private or public, including, but not limited to, individuals employed by the state or any subdivision thereof, any county, city, city and county, including any charter city or county, and any school district, community college district, municipal or public corporation, political subdivision, or the University of California. [California Labor Code Section 1106]

What Is a Whistleblower?

A “whistleblower” is an employee who discloses information to a government or law enforcement agency, person with authority over the employee, or to another employee with authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance, or who provides information to or testifies before a public body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry, where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses:

  1. A violation of a state or federal statute,
  2. A violation or noncompliance with a local, state or federal rule or regulation, or
  3. With reference to employee safety or health, unsafe working conditions or work practices in the employee’s employment or place of employment.

A whistleblower can also be an employee who refuses to participate in an activity that would result in a violation of a state or federal statute, or a violation of or noncompliance with a local, state or federal rule or regulation.

What Protections Are Afforded to Whistleblowers?

  1. An employer may not make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy preventing an employee from being a whistleblower.
  2. An employer may not retaliate against an employee who is a whistleblower.
  3. An employer may not retaliate against an employee for refusing to participate in an activity that would result in a violation of a state or federal statute, or a violation or noncompliance with a state or federal rule or regulation.
  4. An employer may not retaliate against an employee for having exercised his or her rights as a whistleblower in any former employment.

Under California Labor Code Section 1102.5, if an employer retaliates against a whistleblower, the employer may be required to reinstate the employee’s employment and work benefits, pay lost wages, and take other steps necessary to comply with the law.

How to Report Improper Acts

If you have information regarding possible violations of state or federal statutes, rules, or regulations, or violations of fiduciary responsibility by a corporation or limited liability company to its shareholders, investors, or employees, call the California State Attorney General’s Whistleblower Hotline at 1-800-952-5225. The Attorney General will refer your call to the appropriate government authority for review and possible investigation.

Please note that the information provided on this website is for general information purposes only and is not to be construed nor relied upon as legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. For a free consultation with Attorney Thomas M. Lee, please contact us.

Client Reviews

Mr. Lee is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to employment law. I was amazed by his tenacity and skill and in the end, I walked away with a settlement I was very happy about. I highly recommended him to anyone.

- Sarah G.

Earlier this year I was very confused about a legal employer/employee situation and needed professional advice. In my desire to move quickly on my situation I spent hours signing up for legal services (e.g. legal shield...

- Richard H., Los Angeles, CA

Hands down, the best immigration lawyer in Los Angeles that you could possibly find. Period. After an extremely poor experience with another law firm, which had come highly recommended by one of my company's attorneys...

- Robert K., Beverly Hills, CA

My old company was breaking some labor laws and I decided to look for some legal advice. I went to Tom to see what course of action I can take and when we sat down to talk about the details, I decided to hire him and his...

- Ethan Y., Orange, CA

It's quite rare to find a lawyer that sincerely cares about your best interest. Most employment lawyers are extremely hungry for business which makes them naturally have their best interest not mine. However, Tom truly...

- Jen T., Central LA, Los Angeles, CA

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