Thinking of Reporting Illegal Misconduct? Contact a Whistleblower Lawyer!
Government agencies and law enforcement rely on dedicated employees, like you, to expose the corrupt activity. Without countless whistleblowers standing up against illegal acts, most cases of corruption and fraud would go unnoticed. Civilians have learned a lot about the NSA, Enron, and political scandals like Watergate because of it.
Although nerve-wracking, whistleblowing is an opportunity to shed light on unlawful acts in the workplace. Before you report misconduct, we recommend reaching out to an employment attorney in Los Angeles. There are several personal and professional risks associated with speaking up against the company. To do so successfully, you should understand what they are and how the law protects you.
Federal and State Laws on Whistleblower Protection
Speaking up used to be taboo in the past. Now, whistleblowers are getting recognized for playing a vital role in society. On a federal level, the False Claims Act would allow you to take legal action against persons or corporations that defraud the government. Depending on the severity, whistleblowers might receive a monetary reward from what gets recovered.
In California, the Whistleblower Protection Act safeguards employees from wrongful termination and retaliation if their employer violated the law or breached the public trust. This state, unlike others, protects public and private employees. That means any form of retaliatory action might get considered a crime in court. Since the legal policy got revised in 2014, new provisions extend liability to third-party organizations or entities above the employer.
Below, we highlight a few basics of how you may get protected per California Labor Code §1102.5 to 1105.
- Prohibited Activity: Employers cannot prevent or retaliate against workers for disclosing violations to the government or law enforcement when the reasonable cause gets presented.
- Who Gets Protected? Those working in public and private sectors
- Remedies: A whistleblower lawyer in LA can help you recover damages
- Penalties: Misdemeanor charges: up to 1 year in jail, $1,000 fine. Corporate gets a max fine of $5,000.
Who Will Be Considered as a Whistleblower?
If you work out of state, be mindful of other laws and regulations. You might find that protection only gets offered to public employees against retaliation. Additionally, the protection act may solely cover federal workers that blow the whistle on occurrences in the government like:
Although any wrongdoing should get reported, not everyone will get shielded from the aftermath for speaking up unless it qualifies. For instance, the Clean Air Act allows whistleblowers protection from adverse treatment if violations regard the act itself. Other federal laws with similar rules are the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (securities fraud) and the Toxic Substances Control Act. Allowing an experienced whistleblower attorney in LA to review your case makes it easier to establish how to proceed with a claim and keep your job.
Are My Actions Protected?
Questions are sure to arise before you discuss your concerns with a supervisor or address misconduct to HR. Among them are: “Will I lose my job for exposing circumstances like a fraud?” That depends on the type of law pertaining to your complaint.
Some require whistleblowers to report directly to a government agency. The Water Pollution Control Act is one of them. However, it covers workers for filling, establishing a case, and testifying. There are other ways to protect your rights – including the possibility to file a workplace discrimination lawsuit should an employer take their frustration out on you in the office. Be mindful of policies that require you to report misconduct directly to a supervisor first for protection.
Issuing a complaint is often a complicated and stressful process. A LA workplace attorney can advise you of the procedures and applicable law.
How To Keep Your Job Before and After Filing a Report
Clients stress the importance of keeping their job after submitting a complaint. Although whistleblower laws protect them from any form of retaliation, that may not dissuade an employer from:
- Demoting you without notice
- Changing your pay
- Poor evaluations
- Sexual harassment or stalking
We understand your concerns and worry. However, at our law firm, an experienced whistleblower retaliation lawyer in Los Angeles can and will hold your employer accountable if you have a strong case proving they were getting revenge. In severe cases, reports should get sent to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to prompt an investigation and pursue a lawsuit down the road.
A few points to consider before you come forward to expose your employer or company are:
- To keep a detailed record of dates and actions at work (complaints, reports, retaliation)
- Make a file for all performance evaluations, disciplinary actions against you, attendance, work policies, and procedures.
- Ensure that you discretely (and legally) obtain evidence.
- If you see changes in company policy following the ways you got treated, detail them.
- Do you want to remain anonymous? Discuss the possibility with a lawyer before you come forward with information.
- If co-workers feel similarly about working conditions or are aware of wrongdoings, they might be great witnesses or additional whistleblowers.
- Avoid giving employers a reason to penalize you at work.
- Be aware of the time limit for successfully filing a whistleblower claim.
Want To Learn More About Your Rights or The Whistleblower Process?
In society, many rely on those who speak up about wrongdoings at work. Unfortunately, employers do not always see it that way if their job is on the line. As an employee, you deserve complete protection, and it’s worth knowing if you’ll receive it. Reach out to a whistleblower attorney to advise you on the next steps and help you stay employed.
About Mann & Elias
The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every level of the state and federal court systems in lawsuits regarding discrimination, wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and more. When your case is in our hands, we hope to minimize stress and concerns associated with work.
Workplace disputes and negotiations can be complicated and uncomfortable between an employee and employer. In many cases, an employer can retaliate, causing individuals to feel disadvantaged in the company. When you retain one of our lawyers, you will be well-protected and advised. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, we believe our success is rooted in:
- 50+ years of trial experience
- Excellent advocacy skills
- Intense preparation and research
- Quality care
Since our partnership began over 20 years ago, we have settled hundreds of claims, completed 100 jury and bench trials, and recovered more than $18 million in settlements. In the end, our goal is to understand what you need and achieve the best outcome for you by focusing on those needs. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.