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Northern California Employment Law Attorneys
Whistleblower Retaliation

Sacramento Whistleblower Retaliation Lawyer

Silencing Whistleblowers Is Prohibited by California & Federal Law

In popular American culture, the whistleblower is held in high esteem. It is the whistleblower who takes a brave and courageous stand against a cold and uncaring corporation or industry and calls attention to the way in which it abuses and mistreats its workers. Famous whistleblowers throughout American history have brought attention to – and eventually helped reform – unfair wages, child labor, poor working conditions, exposure to dangerous substances, and other working conditions that endanger the wellbeing and health of workers.

Unfortunately, not all businesses share the same positive view of whistleblowers as the American public. As a result, these businesses will attempt to intimidate, dissuade, or silence a whistleblower. Businesses have, of course, more resources than an individual whistleblower, but thankfully whistleblowers have the protection of state and federal laws.

Unlawful Whistleblower Retaliation in California

When a business takes an adverse employment action against a whistleblower because of the whistleblower’s report, unlawful retaliation has occurred. State and federal laws prohibit businesses from retaliating against whistleblowers that bring violations of the law in the workplace to the attention of the business and/or government authorities.

This prohibits the employer from:

  • Reducing the pay of the whistleblower
  • Demoting the whistleblower
  • Assigning the whistleblower more difficult job duties
  • Harassing the whistleblower while on the job
  • Terminating the whistleblower

An employer who violates the law may be required to reinstate the employee at his or her previous job (if the employee was terminated), reinstate any benefits that were taken away from the employee, pay the employee’s lost wages, and engage in other measures designed to remedy the dangerous or troublesome condition and prevent future whistleblower retaliation from occurring.

Do Businesses Ever Admit They Retaliate Against Whistleblowers?

A business accused of whistleblower retaliation is not likely to admit that it is engaging in unlawful retaliation. Instead, the business will likely seek to explain its harmful and hurtful behaviors in a lawful manner. They may claim that you were demoted because of poor job performance or that you are simply “too sensitive” to comments by superiors that you find harassing. In other words, you should expect to have to prove you were retaliated against because of your status as a whistleblower.

Proving retaliation occurred as a result of whistleblower status or whistleblowing activities can be difficult if there are not many witnesses available or documentary evidence revealing management’s true reasons for taking adverse employment actions against you. E-mails, internal memos, and other similar documents may have some evidentiary value, as can your previous employment records and reviews if the business attempts to paint you as a bad employee.

The Law Offices of Gay Carroll-Haring can help you. Contact a Sacramento employment law attorney online or by calling 916-443-3553 to schedule a consultation.

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