California Whistleblower Laws Protect Both Private and Public Employees
Employers are prohibited from enforcing any internal policy that conflicts with the state or federal Whistleblower Acts that would:
- Prevent or prohibit an individual from reporting illegal activities
- Retaliate against individuals who are whistleblowers
- Retaliate against individuals who refuse to take part in actions that may be in violation or are non-compliant of a state/federal rule/regulation
- Retaliate against an individual who was a whistleblower in their former employment.
Whistleblower complaints that are appropriately vetted often lead to investigations that can have adverse effects on the accused. These laws were passed as a means for individuals to draw attention to an activity they believe to be illegal or dishonest while under the protection of confidentiality and non-retaliation. An employee who refuses to take part in an activity that violates federal or state laws/statutes may also be considered a whistleblower.
Anyone who observes a practice in their organization that violates the law or an important regulatory standard and has suffered retaliation in an effort to silence the complaint should immediately obtain legal counsel. Where violations of legal standards or laws are the subject of a whistleblower action, the employee can sometimes file a “whistleblower complaint.”
Among other federal and state agencies, the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) enforces the whistleblower statutes designed to protect you from recrimination after you have done the right thing. Your employer is not permitted to take adverse action against you including blacklisting, demoting, firing, denying promotions, disciplining, intimidating or threatening you in retaliation for reporting the company’s illegal actions or cooperating with authorities in an investigation.