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When unlawful activity occurs in the workplace, many are tempted to look away as they fear for their employment. However, there are laws in place to protect “whistleblowers” from retaliatory conduct and at Attorneys for Employees (AFE) we combine our extensive experience with the protection provided by these laws to ensure our clients receive the protection they deserve.

About California’s Whistleblower Protection Act

California is a state that affords significant protection to whistleblowers through the Whistleblower Protection Act. The purpose of this act is to ensure that employees who report illegal conduct by their employer do not suffer retaliation at the hands of that employer. Specifically, the act includes the following provisions:

  • In addition to providing protection to state and federal whistleblowers, the act also covers employees in the private sector
  • Reports of wrongdoing made to government officials, including the police, are protected
  • Reports of wrongdoing made internally are protected, as well as those made to any public body that may conduct a hearing or investigation
  • Disclosure of the wrongful conduct does not have to be the responsibility of the party making the report in order for the protections afforded under the act to apply
  • Liability extends not only to the employer, but also to anyone acting on their behalf, such as a third-party contractor

If you are an employee and suffer retaliation, you may be able to seek recovery for loss of income, benefits, emotional distress, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.

Federal Protection for Whistleblowers

There are various statutes that provide protection for whistleblowers on a federal level. The most commonly cited is the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) (5 U.S.C §2302 (b)(8)), which protects federal employees (or applicants for federal employment) who disclose information that they reasonably believe to be evidence of:

  • a violation of any law, rule, or regulation;
  • gross mismanagement;
  • a gross waste of funds;
  • an abuse of authority;
  • a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.

Examples of Retaliatory Conduct

Retaliatory conduct against a whistleblower may take different forms, including:

  • Denial of promotion that has been earned
  • Termination from employment
  • An involuntary transfer or demotion
  • Threats, or other forms of intimidation
  • An unfair, poor performance review
  • Suspension from employment
  • Denial of bonus or other benefits
  • Exposure to a hostile work environment

Let Us Protect You

If you have reported your employer for wrongdoing, or if you are considering reporting your employer for wrongdoing, and want to be sure you are afforded every protection under the law, you need to speak with an attorney at AFE. We specialize in assisting employees from all walks of life and are able to help you through the process. Contact us by filling out our intake form.