This blog article will introduce readers to the notion of workplace whistleblowing and give information about California’s legislation and safeguards. Whistleblowing is becoming more widespread in the workplace, particularly in California.
Speaking out when anything is unethical or unlawful is strongly regulated and protected in the state of California, in particular.
This article is for you if you’re considering sticking up for what’s right at work.
Understanding what whistleblowing is and how it is legally protected in California is critical for employees to have peace of mind when speaking up to unethical behavior. Labor laws in the American state of California safeguard whistleblowing by requiring companies to create a safe, non-hostile work environment for their employees. Labor regulations in California are in place to guarantee that employees may speak out when they observe anything wrong without fear of retaliation from their employer.
Furthermore, these rules shield employees who report infractions of safety, health, or labor regulations, as well as abuses of public policy. Whether you’re considering taking action at work or simply want to grasp the fundamentals of whistleblowing in California, this page has all you need. From the broad notion of whistleblowing to the intricacies of state labor legislation, This guide will teach you all you need to know about blowing the whistle at work in California. So, let’s get started!
What does it mean to blow the whistle at work in California?
People complain about things all the time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the law was broken. So what’s the legal definition of a whistleblower, and since the majority of people who read this article will probably be employees, if you blew the whistle, what kind of protections do you have if you were fired? What kind of remedies are available to you should you even contact a lawyer? We’re going to unpack and answer all of those questions in this article.
it’s usually not that blatant but people get fired all the time after blowing the whistle so let’s take a look at the law
There’s a lot more than just one whistleblower law in California; there’s a bunch of them, and in this article we’re going to cover the main ones.
- The first is the California Labor Code. Section 1102 point 5, which is all about when employees refuse to violate a law and their employer retaliates against them for that,
- Second Law: Health and Safety Code, Twelve Seventy-Eight Point Five This is when health care workers report unsafe patient care or conditions and are terminated or retaliated against for it.
- Third Labor Code Section 63 Ten: This is all about when an employee complains about an unsafe work environment and then gets in trouble for the complaint.
- fourth, the False Claims Act, also known as key TM cases This is when a private company commits fraud on the government, such as not paying proper taxes or submitting false invoices to the government, and fits the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Oxley’s whistleblower law is all about when employees of publicly traded companies complain about or report that their employer is not reporting the correct financial information to the public, so let’s jump into each one of these in much more detail.
California Labor Code Section 1102 point five subsections
subsection C says that it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to terminate an employee if they refuse to violate a state or federal law or refuse to participate in a violation of a state or federal law. Here’s an easy example: say you work at a pharmaceutical company and you sell a drug that requires FDA approval. If your boss asks you to go sell that drug before the company has received approval and you refuse, then the state statute has been violated when they terminate you.
Subsection B of the statute is just as important; it says that it’s an unlawful employment practice and an employer is not allowed to retaliate against or terminate an employee who has reported information to the government or governmental agency and the employee had reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of a state or federal statute. So to continue our FDA pharmaceutical example, let’s say you again work for that company and you go and complain to the FDA, saying my employer is selling a drug without FDA approval. If your employer finds out about that and terminates you, they break the law.
Unsafe Patient Care
California health and safety code twelve seventy eight point five is a very important statute for individuals in the healthcare industry if you are a doctor or a nurse or any other type of healthcare worker and you complain about unsafe patient care or conditions and then you are terminated or retaliated against for that complaint the law is violated now you can report or complain to your employer or you can report or complain to a governmental agency in either situation you are protected now this statute is pretty cool because it creates a rebuttable presumption of retaliation if you complain and then you’re fired within 120 days if you’re fired in that in that zone there’s a presumption
that there was retaliation now okay How does this statute play out in the real world? Let’s say you’re a surgical tech and you realize they’re not sterilizing the tools properly, or let’s say you’re a physician and you witness other physicians missing diagnoses or abusing patients, and then you complain about it. If you’re fired again, a violation of the law has happened, and you can bring a claim.
Unsafe Work Environment
California Labor Code Section 63-10 is all about safe working environments. It is unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee because that employee has filed an oral or written complaint of unsafe working conditions or practices. Now the employee can submit that complaint to OSHA or the employer itself, or the employee could simply have participated in safety meetings or safety committees on OSHA. If the employer terminates that employee because of their participation and safety-related activities, a violation of the law has occurred.
False Claims To Govt
Federal and state False Claims Acts talk about fraud against the government. These laws allow everyday employees to bring lawsuits against their employer on behalf of the government, and these are called key Tam cases, which is a fancy Latin term for on behalf of the king and on behalf of yourself. Basically, what you’re trying to do is recover money that was stolen from the government. So let’s talk about how this plays out in the majority of cases. The big portion of these types of cases are in the health care world, where large organizations are submitting lots and lots of invoices to Medicare or Medicaid. If you find out that your employer is submitting false or inflated bills to the government and unlawfully getting money, they shouldn’t be getting well.
If you can bring a key Tam case and you can recover money for that governmental agency that’s been stolen from, you can get paid a percentage of that. That’s how eat’em cases generally work. They also play out with taxes. If you work for a large organization and they’re not paying appropriate taxes and you find out about it and you think that you can prove it, you can bring a key Tam case to try to recover money for the government. These cases are all about fraud on the government and all about recovering money for the government, and there have been billion-dollar cases where the individual who brings the whistleblower case has made out quite well.
The Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower law is all about corporations that issue publicly traded securities, such as stocks and bonds. Things like that, most people know that if a company is issuing securities, they have to comply with all sorts of disclosure laws, and those disclosure laws are all about getting accurate financial information from the company issuing the securities so that the investment public is not going to be misled, so Sox made a whistleblower law that says if you are working for the employer and you find out that your employer is not reporting the appropriate financial information, withholding financial information, or reporting false financial information, you can blow the whistle. You can report the employer with information that you reasonably believe violate securities laws. wire fraud, mail fraud, and things of that nature, and then you’re afforded protection.
If you blew the whistle, would it be worth it to actually file one of these cases? What kind of remedies are available to you? Well, in the majority of these cases, you can get the following types of remedies: first, your economic damages. These are your lost wages. If you were making a hundred thousand dollars a year when you blew the whistle and then you got fired, you’re not making $100,000 a year anymore, so that’s a very tangible economic loss that the jury can measure.
Second, punitive damages in egregious cases If you can prove that your termination was done with malice, oppression, or fraud, then you can be awarded punitive damages, which are meant to punish the employer and deter the employer from doing the conduct ever again. third emotional distress damages These are often the largest components of these cases. These are damages for the pain and suffering that the plaintiff has gone through as a result of the termination, which are very real and very significant in severe cases. especially finally key Tam rewards If you’re filing a False Claims Act case, remember fraud on the government recovering money for the government. You get paid a percentage depending on the actual False Claims Act that you’re filing it under.
You get paid anywhere between 15 and 50 percent, and some of these cases can be absolutely enormous, so this is a very large incentive for certain plaintiffs to file a false claims case. You can also get your attorney fees reinstated. Some of them allow for double your lost wages, so these can be very powerful in very economically viable cases.
More Info : In very economically viable cases, if you’re an employee and you complained about something at work and then you were retaliated against and you feel like you blew the whistle but your facts don’t line up with one of the boxes up here, make sure you contact a lawyer for a consultation to see if you have a case. That’s all I have for you today. Take ca