Have you ever witnessed your manager or someone else at your workplace breaking the law? Did you try to report it to someone, only to have your concerns waved off or covered up? If so, the law is on your side.
California law provides several protections for whistleblowers, or people who come forward to bring attention to illegal activity at their workplaces. Doing this can be scary, because you run the risk of retaliation at work. Your company could demote you, deny you a deserved raise or even fire you for your bravery.
That is where the law comes in. As a whistleblower, you are protected from employer retaliation.
California’s whistleblower protections
In California, employees enjoy wider whistleblower protections than in many other states. In 2014, three new laws did the following:
- Expanded the types of protected reporting from government officials or police to any “public body” and even internal reporting.
- Extended potential liability beyond employers to parties acting on behalf of the employer, such as management contractors.
- Protected whistleblowers even when their reporting was not part of their official job duties.
In addition, people who work in either the private or public sector in California can get whistleblower protection.
These laws mean you cannot be punished at work for reporting lawbreaking or a breach of the public trust. If this has happened to you, you have the right to sue for compensation for lost wages and other damages.
However, taking on your employer on your own can be very difficult. An experienced employment law attorney can evaluate your case and advise you on next steps.