Amendments to California's existing whistleblower statute, California Labor Code section 1102.5, provide for increased sanctions against those who retaliate against whistleblowers. Effective Jan. 01, 2014, sanctions include a potential civil fine of up to $10,000 per violation and also give whistleblowers an expanded right to seek redress in the civil courts. The amendments signed by California Governor Jerry Brown last fall, also prohibit retaliation by anyone acting on an employer's behalf.
Labor Code § 1102.5 already protects an employee against retaliation if they report what they believe to be violations of state or federal laws, rules, or regulations by their employer to a government or law enforcement agency. Amendments extended this protection to those employees who report suspected illegal behavior: (a) internally to “a person with authority over the employee” or to another employee with the authority to “investigate discover, or correct” the reported violation, or (b) externally to any “public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry.” Additionally, section 1102.5 now prohibits employers from maintaining policies that prevent the disclosure of reasonably-believed violations of local laws or regulations.
In addition to imposing liability on employers, the whistleblower statute now also imposes liability where any person acting on the employer's behalf retaliates against an employee who engages in protected whistleblowing activity. Employers and persons acting on their behalf may not engage in “anticipatory” retaliation – retaliation against an employee because it is believed that the employee has engaged or may engage in whistleblowing activity.
If you are an employee facing trying times due to retaliatory actions by your employer, don't hesitate to contact leading California employment lawyers from Kingsley & Kingsley. Take advantage of a free initial consultation to discuss your case by calling us toll-free at (888) 500-8469 or clicking here to contact us.