We all dream of a perfect workplace. We all hope our employers will be just and fair. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes a company intentionally or unintentionally violates California law or federal law. When this happens, employees have the right — and the ethical responsibility — to report the violation.
California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, part of the Department of Industrial Relations, adamantly defends the rights of employees who “blow the whistle” on their employers’ wrongdoing.
Such “whistleblowers” include individuals who honestly believe that their employers have:
- Violated U.S. statutes or California statutes, such as bribing government officials.
- Ignored local governmental rules and regulations, such as dumping toxic waste in the water.
- Promoted discrimination, harassment or unsafe conditions on the job.
- Asked employees to participate in any kind of illegal activity.
The law protects whistleblowers. Essentially, this means that your employer may not retaliate against you for reporting wrongdoing or for refusing to participate in unlawful activity. If you are the victim of racial discrimination, for instance, your boss cannot fire you for reporting the discrimination. If you realized that your company was committing Medicare fraud, the company cannot penalize you for calling the authorities.
If your employer does subject you to wrongful termination, demotion, harassment or other punishment for reporting a violation, you can sue and potentially recover compensation.
To learn more, consider consulting a skilled employment law attorney. He or she can advise you about your rights in California and help you fight for justice.