Whistleblower protection laws are designed to shield employees from adverse actions taken by employers when a worker reveals employer wrongdoing to the public or to a person in a position of authority.
The decision to reveal wrongdoing should not be taken lightly and skilled legal guidance is highly recommended.
At Limonjyan Law Group, our attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of workers. If you are considering exposing illegal actions taken by your employer, or if you believe you have been the victim of retaliatory action for exposing wrongdoing, speak with us.
Table of Contents
What are the types of whistleblowing?
Whistleblowers are employees that work in the federal government or in private/public corporations. They are an individual that is a current/past employee of an organization, that reports that employer’s past/present/future misconduct .
Whistleblowers can be internal, which means that they report the malpractice of a coworker. They can also be external, meaning they report a person outside the organization they work for.
What protections are afforded to whistleblowers?
Federal law and California state law protects whistleblowers from workplace harassment, demotions, and wrongful termination. These protections extend to anyone who investigates, testifies, or otherwise assists with a lawsuit brought forth by a whistleblower.
When should you blow the whistle?
There are a number of considerations that should be kept in mind if you are thinking about exposing a company’s illegal or unethical practices, including:
- If the action is expected to take place in the future, is it certain to happen and how much harm might it cause?
- If the suspected wrongdoing has already happened, are you certain that the action was indeed illegal or unethical?
- Is revealing wrongdoing in the best interest of the public?
- Have you followed your employer’s chain of command when addressing your concerns?
Whistleblowing may not always be the correct course of action. Our lawyers can help guide you through this process and help you explore your options.
Contact Our Employment Law Firm
If you suspect that your employer is engaged in illegal activity or if you believe you had an adverse action taken against you for reporting suspected wrongdoing, schedule a free consultation with our employment attorney.
Frequently Asked Questions About Whistleblower Protection
I got fired for being a whistleblower in California. Can I get my job back?
California laws prohibit employers from retaliating against whistleblowers. If you’ve been fired for reporting fraudulent behavior or illegal activity within the company, you have a right to seek legal action, as this would be considered wrongful termination.
Your employer may be required to reinstate your employment, pay lost wages, provide work benefits, and take other necessary measures to comply with the law.
Can I remain anonymous and still be a whistleblower?
It is possible to be an anonymous whistleblower. However, don’t count on remaining anonymous since most cases eventually become public. Even if it is possible to remain unknown to the public, you can expect that your employer might learn your identity while trying to defend themselves against the claims you’re making. The more serious the accusation, the more aggressive a company’s defense strategy will be.
Do whistleblowing laws provide rewards to whistleblowers?
California and federal whistleblowing laws provide rewards to a whistleblower who helps recover funds for the government. If you reported fraud against the government, you could potentially receive compensation via a qui tam lawsuit. The False Claims Act allows people who assist in stopping fraud from receiving up to 30% of what is recovered from the fraudulent individual or entity in a qui tam lawsuit.
Additionally, in some cases, whistleblowers can receive compensation for the emotional distress they suffered due to the retaliation.
What is the Federal False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act allows individuals to sue any individual or organization defrauding the government. If you successfully file the lawsuit, you can recover the penalties and the damages on behalf of the government. In addition, the act provides whistleblowers with a financial reward and job security against retaliation.
It is also essential to understand some of the false claims act violations. They include:
- Using a false claim to seek financial reward
- Reversing a false claim
- Presenting a false claim for payment
How can whistleblowers file a lawsuit if they suspect fraud?
A qui tam lawsuit must be filed in a federal court. In most cases, the whistleblower may need to seek legal advice from a whistleblower attorney to help navigate the rules of civil procedures.
Contact a whistleblower attorney at Limonjyan Law Group to begin your whistleblowing process.
How can I whistleblow on unethical, unsafe, or illegal behavior?
This significantly depends on the type of company committing the illegal behavior, the level at which it occurs, and the action’s criminality. For example, government whistleblowers can report unethical conduct to the branch or department that oversees the group of employees.