How to Bring a Whistleblower or Retaliation Case in California?

Because of the complexity of whistleblower cases, you should contact an experienced whistleblower attorney at the Law Offices of Daniel Feder before taking any action on your own. The old adage that a person who represents himself has a fool for an attorney is especially true for whistleblower cases. Because of the nature of whistleblower cases, they are more emotionally charged than many other employment law cases. Because emotions run high in these cases, it is likely that an employee's judgment may become cloudy without the assistance of a qualified attorney, thereby impairing the quality of decisions made.

Unless there are requirements for exhausting remedies by bringing an administrative claim with an administrative agency, or by filing an internal grievance, the whistleblower case is initiated by filing a civil complaint in State of Federal Court. A complaint is a pleading that is filed with the Court and served on all defendants. There are filing fees that must be paid to file a complaint. The Law Offices of Daniel Feder will advance filing fees, and other costs, for clients, pursuant to an contingency legal fee agreement, and will charge a percentage of the recovery. Before you take any action, contact the Law Offices of Daniel Feder to discuss the terms of possible representation, and a free initial consultation. You can initiate the process by calling us, or by completing the "contact us" form.

After the complaint is served on the Defendant, the Defendant will file a responsive pleading with the court. Sometimes this is called an answer. However, sometimes, defendants will challenge the allegations of the complaint by filing a pleading called a "demurrer," or "motion to strike" (State Court), or a Federal Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss (Federal Court).

If you believe you have a whistleblower case, you have the right to file a wrongful termination case in either State or Federal Court. However, there are time limitations on the filing of the case, referred to as a "statute of limitations," which determines the deadline for filing the lawsuit (as distinguished from making the complaint to the employer, for instance).

Unless the law provides for an exception, a whistleblower case must be filed within 2 years of the retaliatory action. The statute of limitations may be tolled during the period the case is being investigated by an administrative or regulatory agency, but it really depends on the facts of your case. Specific types of whistleblower cases may have different statutes of limitations (see below), to the exact period of time you have to file your lawsuit will depend in the nature of your case.

Because of the high risk of losing your rights due to delays in bringing the action, you should not wait to contact The Law Offices of Daniel Feder if you believe you have been retaliated against for complaining about illegal activity.

Next up: How to Complain of Illegal Activities: A Primer for the Whistleblower