If you see something, say something.
The old adage that the US Department of Homeland Security uses to promote national security rings equally true for whistleblowers in the workplace.
Every worker in the world should remember this saying if they see their employer engaging in illegal activities.
Whether it is insider trading or wage theft, if you see something wrong in the workplace, you should always say something.
If you are reading this page, you might have already seen something illegal in your workplace that you should report.
If so, you are in the right place.
Whistleblowers serve a very important role in just about every level of our society.
As a result, there are certain laws protecting whistleblowers from retaliation.
If you are considering blowing the whistle on illegal activity in the workplace, you should familiarize yourself with some of these rules before you proceed.
However, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get in touch with a whistleblower attorney in Los Angeles.
What Is a Whistleblower?
It is public policy in California to encourage employees to report illegal workplace activity to governmental agencies or other authorities.
California has specific rules protecting employee whistleblowers. But how does the state define whistleblower?
The California Labor Code explains that a whistleblower is an employee who discloses information to:
- A government or law enforcement agency;
- A person with authority over the employee; or
- To another employee with authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance;
The definition also includes any employee providing information or testifying before a public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry.
The employee must have a reasonable belief that the information discloses:
- A violation of a state or federal statute;
- A violation or noncompliance with a local, state, or federal regulation; or
- Unsafe working conditions or practices in the employee’s workplace or general employment.
Essentially, an employee whistleblower is any employee who reports just about any violation of a state, federal, or local law or regulation.
A whistleblower reports violations to a government agency or someone at work with the authority to initiate an investigation.
What Protections Are Whistleblowers Given?
The State of California offers employee whistleblowers specific protections.
These protections are designed to protect you as a whistleblower from any sort of retaliation.
The specific protections include the following:
- Your employer may not make, adopt, or enforce any rule or regulation that prevents an employee from blowing the whistle on illegal activity;
- Your employer may not retaliate in any way against whistleblowing employees;
- Your employer may not retaliate against an employee for refusing to participate in any workplace activity that would result in the violation of a federal, state, or local rule, regulation, or law; and
- Your employer may not retaliate against an employee for exercising their rights as a whistleblower at any time in the past.
California takes violations of these protections very seriously.
As a result, any employer found in violation of these rules will face heavy sanctions from the government.
If your employer is violating any of these protections, you should document the actions to the best of your ability.
What Is a Qui Tam Action?
A qui tam action is a specific type of whistleblower complaint that operates in conjunction with a state or federal false claims act. In a qui tam action, a person initiates civil action against an entity on behalf of the government.
The action accuses the entity of defrauding the government.
Both federal and state false claims acts hold that if the government succeeds in recovering money from the liable entity, the person who initiated the action can receive a share of the government’s award.
The financial reward for qui tam whistleblowers is usually limited to 30%.
Whistleblower attorneys in Los Angeles can help.
How Do I Initiate the Whistleblower Process?
To initiate the whistleblowing process you can file a complaint to the California State Auditor.
First, you should gather as much information, documentation, and evidence about your employer’s specific violations as you can. If you wait until after filing a complaint, some of that evidence could mysteriously disappear.
If you contact a whistleblower attorney in Los Angeles before you file your complaint with the California State Auditor, your attorney can help review your evidence, gather more, and present the information in the most effective way possible.
After all, to successfully correct the violation through a whistleblower complaint, there must be ample evidence.
Contact a California Whistleblower Lawyer today
It doesn’t matter if you are a qui tam whistleblower, or whether you want to report unsafe working conditions.
Regardless of what you need to blow the whistle on, we are here for you.
Not only can we help you initiate the process, but we will remain vigilant in advocating for you throughout the entire process.
Retaliation sometimes comes after the fact, so we make sure that we remain in contact with you after the case is settled in the event that your employer does retaliate.
Doing so is a serious violation of the law, so we will hold them accountable.
Starpoint Employment Lawyers are one of Los Angeles County’s premier qui tam and whistleblower protection law firms, so don’t wait.