Often times when an employee has been terminated, he or she feels as though the termination is wrongful. They may have been treated unfairly or given a reason for their termination that they know to be untrue. Whether or not a termination is wrongful from a legal standpoint, however, involves a different type of analysis.
When an employer directs an employee to engage in illegal activity it puts the employee in an incredibly difficult situation. On one hand, the employee wants to uphold the law, is morally and ethically opposed to what the employer is asking, and naturally would fear the legal consequences of his action. But an equally compelling factor might be the employee's need for the job, the people who depend on him or her to provide a paycheck, and the difficulty of finding gainful employment in this economy. It can seem like a no-win situation.
California public policy supports the safety and well-being of employees in their place of work. To this end, the California legislature passed California Labor Code section 6310. This statute was enacted to protect employees from wrongful termination in retaliation for employee complaints about health and safety in the workplace.
When an employee feels he has been wrongfully terminated by his employer as a whistleblower, one of his most important protections comes from California Labor Code Section 1102.5. California's "whistleblower" statute was designed to encourage workers to report unlawful acts without fear of retaliation. When an employee makes a good faith disclosure of a violation of federal or state law he should be able to disclose it without fearing reprisal. But just because a retaliated against employee made such a disclosure doesn't necessarily mean he will have a successful case. In order to understand what makes a claim successful, one should look at the method by which courts analyze whistleblower cases.
A whistleblower was awarded six million dollars by a Federal Court jury in Los Angeles today as plaintiff Catherine Zulfer won a hard-fought case against Playboy Enterprises. Zulfer, the former controller for the company and a thirty-year employee, alleged that the company violated the whistleblower-protection provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 when it retaliated against her for refusing to participate in improper accounting practices on the part of the company.
The California Court of Appeal held recently that actions under the California Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) (Govt. Code § 8547 et seq.) are not subject to compliance with the Government Claims Act (Govt. Code § 900-915.4, 945.4). Cornejo v. Lightbourne (2013) 220 Cal. App. 4th 932. The Goverment Claims Act has a shorter (6 months) deadline for bringing claims than the WPA (12 months).
This is the amended complaint we filed on July 30, 2013 on behalf of whistleblower Barbara Casey and against The American Humane Association and HBO.
A Petco former employee was fired for blowing the whistle on a store manager who sexually harassed female co-workers and abused dogs when grooming them, according to a wrongful termination and harassment lawsuit filed late last month in Superior Court.
Workers who file complaints with Cal/OSHA are protected from discrimination
I was talking to a friend the other day about a whistleblower I represented in a Medicare billing fraud case. "What's a whistleblower?" she asked. I explained that this is someone who objects to his employer committing crimes. "Oh, you mean a snitch!" As my friend said this I could see the light bulb go off in her head. Well, not exactly I explained.