The word "whistleblowers" is often perceived with a negative connotation. Sometimes the stigma surrounding being a whistleblower prevents employees from disclosing an employer's violation of a state or federal statute. But whistleblowers shed light to wrongs and even fraudulent actions of an employer, in turn protecting individuals who are harmed. Take for example, a recent case filed by The deRubertis Law Firm that caused the tumbling of Wal-Mart's stocks after a whistleblower's accusations. Huynh v Wal-Mart Stores Inc et al., U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 18-016310.
According to this complaint, Wal-Mart issued misleading e-commerce results and fired an executive who complained that the company was breaking the law. The former executive claims that he was terminated "under false pretenses" after repeatedly raising concerns about the company's "overly aggressive push to show meteoric growth in its e-commerce business by any means possible-even, illegitimate ones." When considering such a case, whistleblowers suddenly resemble heroes who disclose information to protect the public. When an employer has a motive to silence anyone who questions its illegal actions, why shouldn't an employer speak up? What purpose would laws serve if the actions of whistleblowers were not protected? We'll be following this case closely and will provide updates as the case moves forward, stop by again and read more.
If you believe that your employer is in violation of the following actions: (1) a violation of a state or federal statute, (2) a violation or noncompliance with a local, state, or federal rule or regulation, stepping forward, while seemingly scary, may help to prevent illegal or unsafe working conditions.
Whistleblower laws protect employees from being retaliated against after reporting that an employer has violated the law or breached the public trust. For example, an employee who exposes OSHA violations and is wrongfully terminated could file a whistleblower lawsuit against his employer.
California whistleblower laws protect both public and private employees. In 2014, California's whistleblower law was strengthened. Three additional laws were enacted and added to the California Whistleblower Protection Act. The existing law prohibited retaliation against an employee who reports violations of state or federal laws. And one of the new laws expands this to include the reporting of a "suspected violation" internally, for instance, to a supervisor within the organization) or externally to any public body.