Los Angeles workers who know or suspect an employer is violating a law have the right to step forward and speak up without fear of jeopardizing their jobs. Retaliation against employees who file these complaints is forbidden by the California Whistleblower Protection Act. Revisions to the Act, which became effective in 2014, added strength to the legislation.
Employee discrimination and retaliation complaints are handled by a division of the California Department of Industrial Relations. It is not necessary for you to abandon a personal legal action against an employer to file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. In fact, it may be in your best interests to speak with an employment attorney before taking any action, particularly if you are seeking whistleblower protection.
Consider a situation where you want to report wrongdoing at work. If you do, will you lose your job? Could you potentially face harassment due to reporting the problems at your office or agency? Knowing your whistleblower rights can help you understand what you can do to report the problems at work without facing retaliation.
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.
Los Angeles employers sometimes "shoot the messenger" when a worker reports unsafe, unethical or criminal internal business practices. It's easier for some workers to remain silent and employed than risk getting demoted, transferred, harassed or fired for speaking up. Business misconduct is hard to ignore when an employer is defrauding the government or endangering the public.
Los Angeles independent contractors are self-employed. Benefits regular employees receive, like health insurance and workers' compensation, aren't available through employers for contractors, who are supposed to control when and how they work. Some employers try to save money by treating contract workers like regular employees, without providing contractors with the same benefits.
Employees who communicate legitimate complaints about things they claim are improper at their workplace are supposed to be legally protected from any kind of retaliation. However, sometimes that retaliation is alleged to occur in spite of legal protections, resulting in whistleblower protection cases. One such case is currently being investigated by U.S. Office of the Special Counsel.
When someone comes forward to expose what they view as wrongdoing, they may face consequences for doing so. For example, they might lose their current job. Correspondingly, many who come forward about alleged misdoing by a company seek to remain anonymous in whistleblower protection cases.