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Reporting an Employer: Whistleblower Protections in California

Posted on in Employment

whistleblower protections, San Jose employment law attorneys, workplace harassment, discriminationWorkers have rights which protect their health, safety, and wellbeing on the job. When the company you work for violates these rights there are options available to hold them accountable. Unfortunately, those who do speak up often face retaliatory actions, such as harassment, being denied a promotion, and even being let go from their job. Whistleblower protections help to prevent your employer from taking these types of negative actions, and can help to defend your rights to work as well as your income and benefits.

California Whistleblower Protections

Employees are encouraged to speak up against discrimination, unfair policies, and unsafe practices that occur in the workplace, and the state has specific laws to protect them when they do. The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) advises that employees should notify their office or other government agencies so that their accusations can be investigated and appropriate actions against the employers can be taken. The DIR is aware that employees in these situations often risk their positions and their reputations within the company when they do speak out, which is why whistleblower protections are in place.

Under the California Labor Code, a whistleblower is defined as an employee who discloses information and evidence or testifies before a committee or at a public hearing regarding the violation of state and federal laws or regulations. A whistleblower can also be an employee who refuses to engage in illegal actions, which is otherwise required from an employer. These types of situations often involve the following:

  • Unsafe workplace conditions;
  • Lack of appropriate safety procedures;
  • Discrimination in the workplace, such as on the basis of age, race, gender, religion, or disability;
  • Violations of local, state, and federal requirements regarding the payment of wages, hours, and overtime; and
  • Any type of illegal actions, including stealing, fraud, or tax evasion.

Protection Against Workplace Harassment and Discrimination

The rights of whistleblowers are protected through state laws as well as through the U.S. Department of Labor Whistleblower program. When an employee does speak out or testify regarding conditions in the workplace, these laws prevent employers from taking adverse actions against them, such as the following:

  • Firing or laying off;
  • Demoting or passing up for promotions;
  • Denying overtime or benefits;
  • Unfair disciplinary actions and negative reports;
  • On the job intimidation or harassment;
  • Assigning the employee to other, less desirable duties; and
  • Reducing their rate of pay or hours worked.

Employers who do engage in these types of actions can be held liable through a civil or even criminal lawsuit. Depending on the situation, employers are eligible for reinstatement of their job, along with compensation for the lost wages and other damages they suffered.

At Jachimowicz Law Group, our skilled San Jose employment law attorneys aggressively defend the rights and interests of employees who have been wronged in these types of cases. Call or contact our office online today and request a consultation to see how we can assist you.

Source:

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/WhistleblowersNotice.pdf

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