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Understanding whistle-blower rights in California

Category: Wrongful Termination

In California and across the country, employees are protected from certain environments or actions in the workplace. In general, the protections make it possible for workers to be treated equally and prohibit supervisors from taking advantage of their authoritative role and violating an employee’s rights.

There are also laws that prevent employers from firing an employee for an unlawful reason, referred to as wrongful termination. One of these unlawful reasons is in relation to whistle-blowers. In this post, we will explore the protections in place for whistle-blowers.

To begin with, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement requires workplaces to inform employees of their protections as whistle-blowers. The information is to be posted in the workplace and accessible to workers and includes much of the same information we explore here.

In this state, people who have or share information about non-compliant or illegal employment behaviors are referred to as whistle-blowers. For example, they may have information that an employer is violating wage or hours laws; that a violation of state or federal laws has occurred; or that employees are being subjected to dangerous work environments.

These employees are protected from retaliation by an employer in the form of rules discriminating against whistle-blowers or penalizing those who have or are involved in filing a complaint against an employer.

Whistle-blowers can be taking a significant risk by exposing or reporting certain employment behaviors. A whistle-blower can also be an employee who refuses to participate in activities that involve violating state or federal laws. In any of these capacities, employees are generally protected from retaliatory behaviors of their employer.

However, there are considerable legal complexities when it comes to enforcing your rights and making a case against an employer, should you find yourself in a whistle-blower position. With so much at stake, it can be wise to discuss your rights and options with a legal representative before making any serious decisions.

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