Employees are the engine that drive a business to success. However, some employers often encourage their employees to break the law or engage in other questionable activity to increase profits. Employers who have the courage to report employer wrongdoing are known as “whistleblowers.” Under California and federal law, whistleblowers are protected from job termination or retaliation.
Informing your company of either potential or actual illegal acts often constitutes whistleblowing. Employees do not need to know with 100% certainty that a crime has been committed. All that is required is a good faith basis that there is a violation of the law.
Refusal to participate in prohibited or illegal activity may also constitute whistleblowing under the law. If you are a whistleblower under the law, you receive special protections against retaliation from your employer. Examples include:
Committing tax fraud against the IRS or other state authorities. Individuals reporting tax fraud Illegal dumping and other environmental crimes.
Violations of building regulations and health & safety codes.
Lying to government investigators.
Hiring illegal aliens/undocumented workers.
Reporting workplace violations to a government agency.
Reporting safety violations to Cal/OSHA.
Reporting employer fraud, deceptive accounting/billing practices or misuse of funds in government contracts. These are commonly known as “qui tam” cases. Plaintiffs can recover between 25 and 50% of the government’s recovery.
Unfortunately, many employers do not value the contribution of employees who want to do the right thing and comply with the law. Whistleblowers who are fired, demoted or retaliated against can seek reinstatement in their job, lost wages, and other compensation. You do not need to stand alone when you try to do the right thing. Call Optimum Employment Lawyers at (949) 954-8181 for an evaluation of your case.