Irvine Whistleblower Lawyer

Rubin Law Corporation is an employment law firm that has been helping Irving victims of whistleblower retaliation or who are anxious about blowing the whistle on a workplace violation. For over 25 years, we have helped corporate executives, nurses, retail associates and all the types of workers who have been victims of wrongs and discrimination in the workplace. Call our employment law firm today at 213-224-9347 to talk with one of our whistleblower attorneys and schedule your free consultation.

Whistleblower Law Book

The California Labor Code

California has a very powerful labor code provision that has recently been amended to provide even greater remedies and protections. A California employee who reports unlawful conduct or conduct that is reasonably believed to be unlawful (even if it turns out not to be)  directly to his employer, is protected under Labor Code Section 1102.5.  If that employee is fired for reporting unlawful activity to his employer, the employee may collect lost wages, emotional harm compensation, punitive damages, and attorney fees. The employee under this statute need only show that his complaint of unlawful conduct was a contributing factor to his termination. It is then up to the employer to show by clear and convincing evidence that the employee was fired for reasons independent of the whistle-blowing. So when an employee is terminated for protesting or reporting unsafe working conditions to his employer (a violation of labor code section 6300 et seq) that employee is also protected by Labor Code Section 1102.5– since the employee reported unlawful conduct of the employer. That means he may collect all the remedies, including a fee motion for attorney fees.  The latter consideration becomes a large and important consideration in guiding the employer to agree to a fair and often early settlement. 

The California Whistleblower Protection Act

A whistleblower is an individual who reveals fraud, abuse, corruption, waste or danger to public health and safety within a public or private organization. Under California law, improper governmental activity includes any activity by a state agency or by an employee within their official duties, whether or not that activity is done within the scope of the employee’s official duties, that is in violation of state or federal laws and regulations.

The first US law to protect whistleblowers was the 1863 United States False Claims Act to combat fraud against the US government by suppliers of goods during the American Civil War. The law has evolved to strengthen protections for employees who report fraud, waste and abuse. Today the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) protects disclosures to the Office of the Special Counsel and the Office of the Inspector General.

The California Whistleblower Protection Act gives the California State Auditor the authority to investigate complaints it receives about possible cases of illegal or improper government activities while protecting the employee who files the complaint from retaliation from their employer. 

Qui Tam Actions and the Federal False Claims Act

Under False Claims Act’s qui tam provision, private individuals, known as a “relator,” can sue on behalf of the United States.

Examples of Whistleblower Retaliation

Whistleblower retaliation takes many forms including:

  • Blacklisting
  • Constructive discharge
  • Demotion
  • Denying overtime pay
  • Denying benefits
  • Decreasing pay
  • Being denied a promotion
  • Decreasing the number of hours that the employee is scheduled to work
  • Failing to hire or rehire an employee
  • Intimidation
  • Harassment
  • Reassignment to a new department or changing the employee’s job duties
  • Threats
  • Termination

What Type of Damages Can Be Collected for Whistleblower Retaliation?

If your attorney proves retaliation has occurred, then you can receive compensatory and punitive damages, plus reinstatement to your former job. 

Compensatory damages can include back pay for the lost wages and benefits as a result of being unlawfully terminated, lost healthcare insurance benefits, lost stock options, and lost retirement benefits. You can also sue for emotional distress, for the anxiety that the wrongful termination has caused you, and for any medical costs related to your stress, like treatment for anxiety, depression, and headaches. Damages also include travel expenses that you have incurred in pursuit of your claim. Your attorney’s fees and the cost to build your claim, such as finding expert witnesses, are also included types of damages that you can receive. 

Punitive damages are intended to punish an employer for intentionally and egregiously violating your protected rights.  Punitive damages are justified because whistleblowing is a valuable facet to; the right to freedom of expression that must remain protected.

How can you prove whistleblower retaliation in Irvine?

In order to receive damages for whistleblower retaliation, you must prove that you were terminated because you filed a complaint or a report. This means that you must demonstrate a clear and direct link between the reporting of the wrongdoing and the subsequent firing. 

Once your attorney demonstrates causation, your employer has the burden to prove that they would have taken the adverse employment action even if the employee did not engage in protected conduct.


Your case is a lot stronger if there is evidence that your employer knew about your complaint or participation in a protected activity and there is written documentation of it. Otherwise, your employer could claim that a verbal complaint never happened or did not adequately identify a potential violation of a corporate whistleblower retaliation law. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) does not require employees to file a written, internal complaint to their employer about the potentially illegal conduct. However, if you did provide a written complaint, then the document can be very helpful. Certain statutes, such as the Dodd-Frank Act, do require the employee to report their complaint to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Committee (SEC), which means that if you submitted a complaint internally to your company, then that is insufficient to establish your claim.

Additionally, start gathering documents from your personnel files, such as performance evaluations, reviews, or attendance records. Your employer must prove that they would’ve taken the same adverse action against you even if you hadn’t blown the whistle, so if your personnel file has glowing reviews and there was no indication of poor job performance, then you may have a strong case.

Lastly, emails, texts, and Slack messages can help your case. A supervisor, for example, may have been less careful and more relaxed in a text message or email and said something that revealed their true objective or intention. Screenshots of these messages or copies of emails can be beneficial to your case. You should get them quickly because Slack and other messaging systems delete older messages after a certain amount of days unless you have a paid-for account. 

How Our Attorneys Can Help You

Rubin Law Corporation is an employment law firm that litigates whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, and other employment-related claims. Call 213-224-9347 to schedule your free consultation with an employment attorney about your Irvine employment law concern.