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What are California's whistleblower laws?

To many people, whistleblowing has a negative connotation, bringing with it the same implication as being called a "tattletale" on the grade-school playground. While whistleblowing is often seen as a traitorous act in which a person is betraying his or her employer, it can also be seen as the highest form of honor and integrity: risking one's own employment and lifestyle to expose illegal wrongdoing. Should a person honor their integrity and turn in information?

The state of California holds to the idea that whistleblowers are courageous and honorable individuals, which is why our state provides so much legal protection for whistleblowers. In California, not only are whistleblowers protected from retaliation for reporting legal violations, but they are also protected from reporting suspected violations, meaning that an employer cannot fire you if you revealed information that you believed to be true or believed to be illegal.

Not only are these protections broad compared to other states, but California also extends these protections to employees in both the private and public sector. This means that every employee can feel safe in the knowledge that he or she is protected from retaliation in the form of harassment or wrongful termination.

If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated in retaliation for whistleblowing, consider meeting with an attorney. You could be entitled to recover damages, including lost wages, and you may even be able to get your job back. Additionally, the employer who wronged you could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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