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Whistleblower Retaliation For Reporting Unlawful Activities: Are You Protected By California Law?

If it has come to your attention that your employer has violated the law or engaged in fraudulent or illegal activities, you have probably thought about reporting it to the appropriate authorities (or you have already done that). More likely than not, the question “Will I be retaliated against for blowing the whistle?” has crossed your mind, too.

Luckily for you, California has strengthened whistleblower laws in recent years, protecting a wide spectrum of employees from facing retaliation after reporting unlawful activities on the part of their employers.

“For example, if you get fired after reporting to the appropriate authorities that your employer has committed anything relating to fraud, waste, abuse, and other wrongful and illegal acts, you are entitled to file a whistleblower retaliation claim against your employer,” says our whistleblower attorney Los Angeles, at JML Law.

Extended whistleblower protections in California law

In a nutshell, California’s whistleblower law was strengthened by lawmakers back in 2014, following the NSA surveillance revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Prior to the whistleblowing scandal with the NSA, California law had prohibited employers from retaliating against employees who report unlawful activities to government officials or the police.

One of the new whistleblower laws enacted four years ago expanded this protection to employees who report a violation of federal or state laws to a supervisor or the HR department (or any other person or department internally) or to any public or external body that conducts an investigation.

Previously, California law specifically prohibited employers from retaliating against whistleblowers. The new whistleblower laws in 2014 extended this liability to include anyone acting on behalf of the employer. In addition to that, whistleblower protections extend to those who chose to disclose illegal activities on the part of their employer even if reporting violations are not part of their job duties.

How employers get caught (and why they punish their employees)

Most employers in California are trying to avoid engaging in illegal activities or at least make everything possible (and impossible) to not get caught if they break the law.

In order to get in trouble with the law for engaging in unlawful activities, an employer first must get caught. More often than not, authorities find out about violations of federal and state laws on the part of companies and businesses from reports and complaints filed by workers employed by these businesses.

If you think about it, retaliating against an employee who reported an illegal activity to the appropriate authorities is a natural response from the employer, whose violations of the federal or state law have been reported. After all, the employer feels betrayed by his or her employee for reporting the unlawful activity, fraud, abuse, or waste.

Are you entitled to compensation for whistleblower retaliation?

No matter how “right” it feels to punish an employee for blowing the whistle, California law makes it illegal to retaliate against employees who report unlawful or wrongful activities within the company. “In fact,” says our Los Angeles whistleblower attorney at JML Law, “You may be entitled to financial compensation if your employer fired you, reduced your pay, demoted you or in any other way retaliated against you following your complaint to the appropriate authorities.”

Keep in mind that you only have six months from the date your employer has taken an adverse employment action against you to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Let our whistleblower retaliation lawyers in Los Angeles determine the value of your claim and help you seek compensation in a timely manner. Get a free consultation by contacting JML Law today. Call at 818-610-8800 today.


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