One day, you caught your company red-handed engaging in questionable and potentially illegal workplace activity. You debated whether to speak up about the illegal practice you witnessed and finally got the courage to speak up.
Unfortunately, your employer made you pay for it.
When employees see their employers engage in illegal conduct, it is in the interest of our society that they be allowed to speak up. However, employers frequently retaliate against people who blow the whistle on illegal behavior. Fortunately, California whistleblower laws are in place to protect these individuals. A whistleblower attorney in Los Angeles can help you to hold your employer accountable for illegal retaliation.
Let’s take a look at the California Whistleblower Statute and how you can protect your rights if an employer has victimized you for reporting wrongdoing.
Who Exactly Are Whistleblowers?
As a general rule of thumb, whistleblowers are insiders who report illegal activities that their employers have engaged in.
Employers that commit illegal acts may use their positions and resources to try to discourage and harm whistleblowers. This is why both the California whistleblower law and federal laws have been created to protect individuals against retaliation.
California Whistleblower Legislation Overview
One of California’s whistleblower laws, California Labor Code § 1102.5’s Whistleblower Statute, forbids retaliation if the employee discloses information to certain government agencies or to those with authority over the employee if the employee reasonably believes that the information discloses a violation of law.
The California whistleblower law also protects family members of whistleblowers from retaliation. As a result, the California Whistleblower Statute gives very broad protection in order to further the state’s public policy of encouraging reports of unlawful acts.
Thanks to the California whistleblower law, you can receive protection against retaliation when reporting the following types of illegal behavior:
- Tax evasion
- Harassment in the workplace
- Medicare, Medicaid, or health insurance fraud
- Fraud related to securities
- Violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- Discrimination at work
If you report any unlawful behavior, California’s Whistleblower Statute prohibits your employer from discharging you for complaining about that illegal activity.
What Happens to Whistleblowers When Violations Have, in Fact, Not Occurred?
Let’s say you blew the whistle on what you reasonably believed was illegal activity and it turns out that it was not illegal. What then? You’re still protected by the California whistleblower law as long as you had a reasonable belief that the conduct was illegal. This is due to California’s strong public policy of encouraging whistleblowers to report illegal activity. If whistleblowers–most of whom are not legal experts–were required to know whether the suspected illegal activity was in fact illegal, it would discourage them from speaking up and therefore undermine California’s policy of encouraging reports of illegal behavior.
A Rundown on Filing Whistleblower Suits
If you have reported illegal activity in the workplace and are being retaliated against as a result, you might have grounds for a lawsuit under the California whistleblower law. These types of suits must be brought within three years of the date of retaliation. Thus, it is wise to consult with a whistleblower attorney in Los Angeles right away if you think you have been retaliated against for reporting illegal activity.
If you are successful in your lawsuit, you may receive compensation for loss of past and future earnings, emotional harm caused by the retaliation, punitive damages to punish and deter the employer from engaging in retaliation, and attorneys’ fees.
Protect Your Whistleblower Rights with the Help of an Attorney Today
If you are a whistleblower who has been retaliated against for reporting illegal activities, Pimentel Law can help you enforce your rights.
The California whistleblower law is complex, so it is important that you get in touch with a whistleblower attorney in Los Angeles right away. An experienced whistleblower attorney in Los Angeles can boost your likelihood of attaining a fair judgment or settlement.
At Pimentel Law, you can rest assured that you will receive the pinnacle of legal representation. We specialize in employment cases, so we are experts in this legal area and have extensive experience with tackling violations of the California whistleblower law.
Call us today at 877 265-8084 to learn your legal rights and find out what options you have available under California’s whistleblower law.