Protection Provided to Whistleblowers

https://www.asmlawyers.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Whistleblowing-and-Public-Policies-Whistleblowers-Are-Protected.jpgWhistleblowing has dominated the media in the recent past, demonstrating the gravity of such actions along with the intensity applied to protect whistleblowers.

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.

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:

Common Types of Fraud

If an employer has violated the California Labor Code Section 1102.5 and retaliates against a whistleblower, they may be forced to reinstate the employee, their benefits, pay any lost wages, and take mandatory measures to comply with the law.

7 of the most common types of fraud whistleblowers expose include:
  1. · Defense contractor fraud
  2. · Environmental harm or fraud
  3. · Government contract overbilling
  4. · IRS/State Tax fraud 
  5. · Medicare/Medicaid Fraud
  6. · Overbilling practices by Doctors/Hospitals
  7. · Overbilling schemes by Pharmaceuticals

Maintaining Confidentiality

The confidentiality of the whistleblower is maintained whenever possible. In some instances, and to facilitate a thorough investigation, the whistleblower’s identity may have to be disclosed. The whistleblower’s identity may have to be disclosed to remain compliant and to provide the accused of the legal rights of defense.

The Whistleblower Policy encourages individuals to report all cases of corruption, suspected fraud, or other improper/illegal activity, or any health/safety concerns that are not being appropriately addressed and have the potential to cause harm. The policy sets forth the process by which the evaluation and investigation are to be conducted.

What Do These Protections Mean?

In addition to the Federal Whistleblower Act, most states have whistleblower statutes that provide additional protections to at-will employees under public policy laws. The non-retaliation aspects include, but are not limited to, protection from retaliation in the form of:

  1. an adverse employment action, i.e., termination, demotion, fewer work hours
  2. compensation decreases, poor work assignments 
  3. threats of physical harm

If you believe that you are a victim of retaliation resulting from taking part or cooperating in a whistleblower investigation, under California’s Whistleblower Laws, you may also be entitled to file a claim for any damages sustained by any retaliation. Additionally, if you have information regarding any illegal activities and wish to file a whistleblower complaint, contact one of our Attorneys to discuss your case.

Along with the repayment of lost wages and reinstatement, you may also be entitled to additional compensation for a damaged reputation. If you have been terminated or are experiencing retaliation, it is best to contact an attorney that specializes in discrimination and retaliation laws to represent you. 

Our firm specializes in all aspects of employment law, including whistleblower rights and protection, harassment, age discrimination and more. Our attorneys hold a distinguished track record in types of cases and provide you a strong presence in your case.  Employment laws are constantly changing — contact Aiman-Smith & Marcy today for a free consultation.

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Lisseth Bayona

Attorney

Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.

Education

 

Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for 20 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.

Education

University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.

 

Educación

Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986