Under California’s whistleblower protection statute (and related case law), employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who report illegal activity to law enforcement authorities. Employers are also prohibited from punishing employees who refuse to participate in unlawful activities in the workplace.
From law offices in Los Angeles, The Rubin Law Corporation represents employees and protects their rights in whistleblower claims and other employment actions in Los Angeles County, Orange County and throughout Southern California.
Putting your job in danger is never easy. If you are thinking about reporting your employer’s illegal activity, or you have already blown the whistle, you need to understand your right to be protected from illegal retaliation by your employer.
Contact our law office for a confidential discussion with a skilled attorney committed to your safety and rights as an employee under the law. Call us at 310-385-0777 or contact us online.
Federal whistleblower laws
Many federal laws include provisions to protect whistleblowers. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act offers protection from termination, harassment and other retaliatory employment actions by an employer for reporting fraud, even if a court later finds that the laws were not violated.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) administers the whistleblower provisions of various statutes, which protect workers who report violations of laws governing commercial vehicles, atomic energy, air pollution, water quality, waste disposal and toxic substances, aviation, securities and corporate accounting, and several other fields.
California whistleblower laws
Many state employees are under the misconception that they are only protected from retaliation by employers when they report unlawful conduct to an outside agency. In fact California’s Whistleblower Protection Act offers much broader protection to employees. The law also protects employees who make internal reports of violations of state or federal law that protects a public interest.
Employees who simply refuse to participate in activity that would violate a state or federal law are also protected against retaliation by their employers.
No reporting of the violation is required here; just a simple refusal to engage in the unlawful conduct.
Types of whistleblower cases
Whistleblower claims can take many forms. One of the most famous cases involved Jeffrey Wigand, a tobacco industry researcher who reported that tobacco companies were intentionally manipulating the nicotine content of cigarettes. Wigand was fired and reportedly received death threats for having reported the manipulation to government authorities. His story was the basis for the popular film ‘The Insider’ starring Russell Crowe.
A wide variety of everyday situations can give rise to whistleblower claims. Here are a few examples from real cases that resulted in valid whistleblower claims:
- A truck driver was terminated because he refused to deliver spoiled milk.
- A sales representative was fired for refusing to participate in an illegal gasoline price-fixing scheme.
- A manager was terminated for refusing to engage in racial discrimination.
- A city building department employee was terminated for refusing to allow certain city officials to conduct residential construction without proper permits.
- An insurance claims handler was fired for refusing to accept cases that would result in a larger caseload than the Department of Insurance guidelines allowed.
The experienced attorneys at our law office have handled a number of whistleblower claims. In one instance, we represented a man who was a boiler expert for an international company. When he reported defects in the boiler systems that posed a safety hazard to workers worldwide, he was terminated.
After coming to our office, we arranged for a pre-litigation mediation of the wrongful termination, and the individual was compensated fully and fairly for his losses. He has since been able to pursue a career as an expert consultant in the industry.
Contact the Rubin Law Corporation today
If you have been suspended, demoted or terminated for reporting illegal activity at work, or for refusing to break the law, contact us as soon as possible for an evaluation of your case.
Contact The Rubin Law Corporation of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills today by calling us at 310-385-0777 or e-mail us today.