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Whistleblower protections in California

In California, whistleblowers are protected from a variety of employer actions. What exactly is a whistleblower? According to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, a whistleblower is someone who discloses information to law enforcement or a government agency about noncompliance or a violation of federal or state statutes or federal, state or local rules or regulations. In addition, a whistleblower may disclose information about unsafe conditions or practices at work.

The protections afforded to a whistleblower include:

-- No policies, regulations or rules may be enforced, made or adopted that would prevent an employee from becoming a whistleblower:

-- No employer can retaliate against an employee because he or she refuses to perform work that is a violation of federal or state statute or is noncompliance or violation of a federal or local regulation or rule.

-- No employer can retaliate against a whistleblower.

-- No employer can retaliate against a former employer who is a whistleblower.

Should an employee experience retaliation from an employer because of becoming a whistleblower, the employer may be required to pay for the employee's lost wages and to reinstate the employee.

Whistleblowers are protected by the state's labor codes. However, there are instances when a whistleblower may experience threats of physical violence or harm. This is one reason why whistleblower activities are done in secret and why they are protected by federal and state laws.

An attorney can provide more information about whistleblower protections and the process for reporting illegal activities or acts. If you believe you have been subjected to retaliation or wrongful termination because of reporting such acts, an experienced employment rights attorney can prove very helpful.

Source: Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, "Whistleblowers Are Protected" Aug. 30, 2014

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