Whistleblowing in California

Sacramento Criminal Defense Attorney

A whistleblower is a person that reports misconduct or illegal activity in the workplace. When misconduct is taking place and a person makes an allegation to others inside the organization or outside to law enforcement or employment law regulators, the action is termed whistleblowing. Whistleblowers are protected in the United States. In 1863 there was a law formed titled the United States False Claims Act and the act encourages whistleblowers to report any illegal activity in their workplace. The act promises the whistleblower a percentage of money for the damages and also protects them from being wrongfully terminated or demoted by the employer. If you have suffered from an adverse employment action following a report that you made against unlawful behavior you may be able to receive compensation, call a Sacramento criminal defense lawyer for help.

Types of Misconduct and Illegal Activity to Report

Whistleblowing oftentimes stays within the organization making them “internal whistleblowers” who choose to only report the misconduct to other employees or managers in the business. External whistleblowers choose to expose misconduct to people outside of the company. Depending on the situation a whistleblower can report to lawyers, law enforcement or any other state, local or federal agency. In the United States, whistleblowers are protected from employer retaliation. The various types of misconduct that can be reported, include:

  • Crimes of fraud
  • Discrimination in the company
  • Safety and health violations
  • False claims
  • Wage violations
  • Hour violations
  • Mismanagement
  • Violation of a law

Reporting activities like these can be seen as a selfless act done for the public interest in the company but there is sometimes a negative view of this type of action. The ideas about whistleblowers vary between being a martyr or a traitor who wants personal fame. The protection of whistleblowing will depend on the alleged misconduct and also the state. Another law after the 1863 act that protects whistleblowers is the 1912 Lloyd-La Follette Act that ensured the right of federal employees to give information to Congress. There are many other laws protect employees and their choice to “blow the whistle.”

Employer Retaliation After an Act of Whistleblowing

Oftentimes employers will retaliate against the whistleblower for their choice to report them. They may choose to fire or demote a person after they expose the unlawful activity that has been taking place. Whistleblowers have rights and can file a retaliation claim if an employer chooses to punish them for reporting illegal behaviors. In order to make a claim there are three parts to establish, including:

  1. Establishing that the action you took was protected. An example would be reporting safety violations in the organization.
  2. Showing that you have suffered from an employment action, including termination, pay cuts or demotion after the action that you took.
  3. Proving that there is a causal relationship between you reporting the misconduct and the employment action that followed.

Need a lawyer for a whistleblowing case in Sacramento?

If you have chosen to act in a way to protect the public interest in the organization that you work for you may be protected. In order to understand your rights and options for filing a retaliation claim speak with a Sacramento employment law attorney who is familiar with whistleblower protection laws in California. We are skilled at investigating whistleblower cases to prove the unlawful behavior took place whether it was harassment or discrimination or any other wrongdoing and we can help you prove that the adverse employment action was a result of your protected action. Contact Tower Legal Group right away to schedule a free case evaluation and discuss your case.