What Employers Must Know About Whistle Blowing

Whistle blowing is an act wherein an employee reports, to the proper authorities or government agencies, what he perceives as wrongful acts being committed by his employer. If you are an employer, you should be well informed that your employee is protected by the law against retaliation for his or her whistle blowing. If you are doing something unlawful and you were reported by one of your employees to the proper agency, you cannot penalize your employee for doing this. The next thing that you may do is to prepare yourself for the notice of violation or subpoena from the court requiring your attendance at a hearing. Meaning, face the accusations against you and defend yourself in the proper forum.

Furthermore, you cannot terminate or even discriminate the whistle blower for that matter. You should treat him like any other ordinary employee. Otherwise, you will be in for more damages. The law allows the whistle blower to recover damages from his employer if he was wrongfully terminated or otherwise discriminated due to his act of whistle blowing.

However, you should also know that your employee is not protected by whistle blowing laws if he files any complaint for your illegal acts to other person in your company. But don’t be too quick to get back at your employee.

Even though he is not protected by whistle blowing laws, you still cannot attack the whistle blower with impunity. Otherwise, you could be liable for damages for violating your responsibility to treat each of your employees justly and reasonably. In short, you will be violating public policy provisions.

What if you are not really committing an illicit act? Can you then retaliate against your over zealous employee for such wrong accusations? The answer still is no. You cannot retaliate against your whistle blowing employee even if you did not actually commit any illegal or wrongful act. The criteria are, for as long as the employee, in good faith, thinks that you were committing a wrong, the employee is protected from telling on you despite the fact that the information was erroneous.

But then again, you should not fret. A whistle blowing employee is not immune from any sanctions from you after the whistle blowing act. The law mandates to treat the whistle blowing employee the same way you treat an ordinary employee.

Hence, if the whistle blowing employee committed subsequent conduct for which he can be terminated under the law, then you have the suitable reasons to terminate the whistle blower. It is only where the act of terminating an employee is tantamount to retaliation and the law steps in to protect the employee. Treat your employees fairly, especially in California. Otherwise, expert legal eagles might swoop in to make you accountable for violating the law against employee retaliation.

For more information about Violation of Whistle Blowing Laws, visit our Los Angeles Lawyers

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One Response

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