Do whistleblowers have protection in California?

In a recent blog post, this blog highlighted the story of a woman who claims she was wrongfully terminated. In that case, the woman says that she was subjected to illegal behavior before her termination. Many California employees are working under similar conditions. Their employers may be allowing or encouraging illegal behavior or are not incompliance with safety standards or other regulations.

In these cases, employees may feel like their jobs are in danger if they speak up about the discretions. Employees may fear that if they act as a whistleblower — and report a violation of federal, state or local rules — that they could be termination. Employees may ask — are there protections for California whistleblowers?

Under the California labor code, employees are protected if they act as a whistleblower. Specifically, California law provides four protections. One, if an employee acted as a whistleblower in a previous job, the person’s employer cannot retaliate against the person for exercising this right. Two, employers cannot retaliate against an employee that engages in whistleblowing. Additionally, if an employee refuses to engage in illegal behavior, the employer cannot retaliate against the person. Finally, employers cannot enact rules that would prevent employees from engaging in whistleblowing.

If an employer breaks any of these rules, they could be liable for damages. An employee that suffers as a result of whistleblowing may be entitled to lost wages and benefits. If the person was wrongfully terminated, the person may be entitled to the employee’s old position.

The information in this blog post should not be used as specific legal advice since every wrongful termination case is different. An attorney can provide more specific information on a case-by-case basis.

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