Sometimes, employees see conduct they know is unethical or illegal and feel obligated to speak up about it. Unfortunately, these whistleblowers may end up losing their jobs or facing other forms of punishment on the job for their actions. However, the law in California, which covers the Bay Area, protects these employees from retaliation.
Thanks to common law — one source of protection in California — employees may have cases for retaliatory discharge if they are fired or demoted for taking part in actions that are protected by important public policies. In addition, according to the courts, the issues that these employees raise must involve the interest of the public. In other words, the problems must impact the public at large, not just a particular person or group of people.
Statutory protections in California also protect whistleblowers who have witnessed fraudulent or illegal activity and reported this conduct to bring an end to it. These laws exist in an effort to help workers to feel more comfortable about reporting such behavior. If their employers do retaliate, these employees have the right to move forward with filing lawsuits.
Facing retaliation due to being a whistleblower can be demoralizing, as it can be emotionally painful in addition to having an adverse impact on the whistleblower’s career. However, an attorney in the Bay Area can help such an individual to fight back through the civil court system. Every case is different, and addressing these cases efficiently can be complicated, but an applied understanding of the law may improve whistleblowers‘ chances of winning their cases in the Golden State.