A whistleblower is an employee who works in government or private enterprise, and who discloses to the public or a regulatory agency the mismanagement, corruption, safety violations or other unlawful activities at work that would otherwise go unpunished. A whistleblower serves the public interest, often at some considerable risk to his or her safety and well-being.
Frequently, employers retaliate against whistleblowers through terminations, intimidation, demotions or reductions in pay. That is why several laws have been enacted to protect employees who blow the whistle on illegal behavior at work.
“At-will” employment as an excuse to terminate a whistleblower
The at-will employment doctrine means that without an employment contract, an employer can terminate an employee for any reason, at any time. According to the California Labor Code, California is an “at-will” state. However, the legislature and the courts have created exceptions in the doctrine for whistleblowers who are at-will employees. One of our experienced attorneys at Schwimer Weinstein, can advise you of your rights.
Whistleblower Protection Act for federal employees.
Enacted in 1989, this law protects whistleblowers that work within the federal government from retaliation. To file a successful claim for protection, an employee must:
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
This government agency oversees 20 of the laws that also protect whistleblowers from retaliation and discrimination. These include the Clean Air Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Section 402 of the Food Safety Modernization Act and Section 1558 of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Filing a whistleblowing claim can be very complicated and complex. If you have observed illegal activities at work and are thinking about blowing the whistle and need advice before you do, or you’ve already done so and feel you’re being retaliated against, you need experienced, competent counsel to protect your rights. Contact the attorneys at Schwimer Weinstein as soon as possible.
We can help. Contact Schwimer Weinstein for a free, no-obligation consultation.