Blowing the Whistle on Illegal Actions of California Employers
California Employment Law Representation in Whistleblower and Workplace Retaliation Claims
“Whistleblowers” are employees who object to or refuse to engage in illegal activity (or activity the employee reasonably believes is illegal). Often the activity costs taxpayers money, for example, overcharging clients or under-reporting profits made on a state-issued contract. It also can endanger the safety of workers or the public, such as where an employer has failed to properly dispose of waste or failed to comply with regulations in manufacturing.
The U.S. government and the State of California promote exposing waste, illegal acts, and dangerous conditions by providing financial incentives for employees to become whistleblowers. The whistleblower receives a portion of the money the government saves — and that can be substantial.
A whistle-blower must bring information to the government investigators in the proper manner and must be the first one to report the wrongdoing in order to be protected and compensated.
Other times, the employee can be a whistle-blower by complaining about what the employee believes is unlawful employment discrimination. For example, an employee could complain that her boss refused to hire someone because the boss said the person had an accent or wasn’t attractive. If the employer responds by demoting or firing the employee who complained, and it can be shown that there is a link between the complaint and the employer’s actions, then the employee could have a retaliation case.
We have extensive experience litigating retaliation cases. If you are an employee, we can work with you before you report illegal activity to try to protect you from unnecessary risks or penalties for your actions. We can also help you if you have already reported the activity and been retaliated against. Contact our office to learn more about how to receive representation in whistle-blowing and retaliation cases.
Types of Illegal Actions That Lead to Whistleblower Cases
- Safety violations
- Environmental violations, including polluting
- Unlawful working conditions, including wage and hour violations (where the employer does not pay the wages due an employee, fails to make rest or meal breaks available, or fails to give employees days off)
- Over-billing and fraudulent billing of government agencies (Medicare or Medicaid fraud, defense industry fraud, state or county contract fraud)
- Providing substandard products to government agencies
Legal Protections Available to You in Cases of Workplace Retaliation
The law protects people who have exposed wrongdoing through a valid whistleblower complaint, as well as employees who refuse to go along with illegal behavior or who access the courts to bring a complaint about illegal actions (such as harassment or discrimination).
Your employer cannot legally retaliate against you for filing a complaint or exposing wrongdoing. However, many employers may try to take action against employees by creating a hostile work environment. Examples of unlawful retaliation include:
- Firing, demotion or failure to promote
- Changed working conditions that limit income or promotion potential
- Subtle or overt harassment
If you believe you have been the victim of retaliation for reporting illegal activities or protecting your rights in the workplace, contact our law office.
Workplace retaliation attorneys at Swe Legal represent employees who have been treated unfairly in the workplace. Swe Legal represents clients all over California.