As a responsible employee, you don’t want to stir up trouble in the workplace. You should also know, however, that you have rights and are protected under the law for reporting unlawful activities to your employer or to a regulatory agency of the government.
Simply put, your employer may not take action against you because you have spoken out – that’s illegal retaliation. At least in California, you may speak out and report wrongs that you reasonably believe to be in violation of the law. Provided that you are honest, reasonable and complaining in good faith, you may do so knowing that you have the support of whistleblower-retaliation statutes under the Labor Code.
A growing body of laws, both state and federal, is expanding the rights of employees against retaliation or other negative actions taken against honest whistleblowing employees.
In general, it is your right to speak up and complain about wrongs in the workplace that you suspect to be in violation of the law. Today under the California Labor Code, you may report these matters directly to the employer or to the appropriate government agency.
In particular, California employment laws permit you to report a variety of suspected wrongs in violation of law. Provisions in California Labor Code section 6310, protect your right to report safety problems and hazards that you reasonably perceive within your workplace, as well as discrimination or harassment against fellow employees. Under Labor Code section 1102.5, you’re also entitled to speak out against other unfair business practices such as fraud or other misrepresentations. You are protected in these legal rights, whether employed in the private or the public sector — in business or as a government employee.
Law and public policy today recognize that employee whistleblowers often swim against the tide of conformity and acquiescence in the workplace. This requires some measure of courage on the part of working people – often placing their financial security, their careers and livelihood in the balance. Please know, however, that you’re not required to be certain that the conduct you’re complaining about is indeed unlawful – that’s something a lawyer can determine, and you don’t need to be a lawyer in order to be a whistleblower.
In the State of California, your legal protection against whistleblower-retaliation is broad. Though these laws apply differently depending upon the facts of your particular situation, they are taken seriously and enforced in appropriate circumstances.
Stand up and speak out!! If you or a co-worker is a victim of unlawful retaliation, contact our offices for legal action tailored to the facts of your individual situation.