Whistleblower laws exist to protect employees from retaliation when they report their employers for illegal acts or the breach of public trust. California has particularly strong whistleblower retaliation laws that protect both private and public employees, and it holds accountable employers that retaliate against their employees for reporting the truth. The attorneys at Williams Iagmin, LLP specialize in protecting whistleblower clients and are here to help you through the process if you want to report your employer’s crimes.
California’s whistleblower retaliation laws were codified in 2014 with the California Whistleblower Protection Act. The Act states that it is prohibited to retaliate against an employee who reports a violation of state or federal law to the authorities as well as to any internal member of the organization or any public body conducting an investigation. In addition, the Act also holds third parties accountable for retaliation if they were acting on behalf of the employer. This applies regardless of whether reporting the violation is part of an employee’s official duties or not.
Under the Whistleblower Protection Act, retaliation encompasses a number of acts an employer may do to punish an employee for reporting illegal acts. This includes termination, arbitrary disciplinary action, unjustified negative work evaluations or performance reviews, demotion, refusing to grant a promotion, refusing to grant a raise, refusing to allow occupational training, an untenable increase in workload, denial of resources necessary for the job, and any other burdensome acts that are a direct result of the employee whistleblowing on the employer.
When determining whether an adverse employment action constitutes retaliation, the courts often look to the proximity in time between the whistleblower action and the employment action against the employee. The closer the time between the two actions, the more likely the court will find it to be retaliation. Proof that the employer knew of the complaint made against it by one of its employees is also important when proving retaliation in a whistleblower case.
Employees who qualify for whistleblower protection may be entitled to damages from their employer if they can prove that they were retaliated against in the workplace as a result. Compensation for whistleblower retaliation claims against an employer can include the following:
In addition, California law also provides a civil penalty of $10,000 per violation under the Whistleblower Protection Act above and beyond any other damages collected from the employer for retaliation. The law also allows for punitive damages, which are meant as additional monetary punishment for the employer’s actions and serve to deter other employers that may consider similar action against their employees.
If you have filed a whistleblower complaint against your employer and been harassed, demoted, fired, or faced other adverse actions as a result, call or contact the office of Williams Iagmin today. Our attorneys will provide a free review of your whistleblower case and protect you against retaliation from your employer.