If you think you are prepared to blow the whistle, stop right there and read the following information. Although federal law offers Californian employees a plethora of protections for reporting their employer for violating the law and engaging in illegal activities, many people do not know their rights.
Under California whistleblower law, employers are prohibited from retaliating or discriminating against employees for filing a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and reporting any violations of the law. If this happens and your employer finds out about it, it would be illegal for him/her to take adverse employment action against you, threaten you, or retaliate in any other way.
When are employees protected from whistleblower retaliation?
Although many employers are aware of the generous protections whistleblowers in Riverside and all across California are offered for reporting illegal activities in the workplace, many still engage in retaliatory actions that are less transparent than firing or demoting an employee or reducing his/her wage.
If you doubt whether or not certain actions or behavior by your employer constitute whistleblower retaliation after you filed a complaint with the OSHA, consult with a Riverside whistleblower attorney from the JML Law. If you engage in any of the following protected activities, and your employer takes retaliatory actions against you, you may be entitled to compensation:
- Reporting illegal activities in the workplace
- Reporting wage fraud or other types of workplace fraud
- Reporting illegal workplace conduct
- Reporting dishonest, unlawful or deceptive business practices
- Reporting the company’s practices of bypassing the law
- Reporting the falsification of documents
- Reporting violations of health and safety standards in the workplace
- Refusing to engage in illegal actions at work.
New whistleblower protections in California
Following the greatest whistleblower scandal in U.S. history, in 2014, Californian lawmakers expanded whistleblower protections for employers who report illegal activities on the part of their employer or company.
One of the expansions provided protections to employees who report illegal conduct in the workplace internally to a person of authority. Also, lawmakers expanded protections to those who report violations of local laws, not just state or federal laws.
The new laws in 2014 also made it illegal for a third party or other employees to retaliate against the whistleblower on behalf or request of the employer. Also, it is illegal to retaliate against employees on the mere suspicion that he or she filed a complaint with the OSHA.
Another law also made it illegal to retaliate against employees who report wage fraud, and other wage violations such as unpaid wages. Lawmakers also made it illegal for employees to threaten to contact an immigration agency in retaliation for whistleblowing when the whistleblower is an immigrant.
Another law in 2016 also offered whistleblower protections to employees whose family members reported illegal activities in the workplace.
If you cannot decide if filing a complaint with the OSHA is the right decision, be warned that failing to file a complaint on time may result in the loss of your right to report violations and/or may even get you in legal trouble for failing to speak to authorities sooner. As federal and state laws regarding whistleblower protections still evolve and are subject to changes almost every year, it is vital that you speak to a Riverside whistleblower attorney before filing a complaint. Contact the JML Law and get a free consultation today. Call at 818-610-8800 or complete this contact form.