I have complained to my employer about practices at work that I think are illegal. Am I being retaliated against?
A “whistleblower” is an individual who reports illegal, unsafe, or unethical practices by a company or supervisor. The report can be made internally at the company or externally to a government agency. The “whistleblower” terms derives from a referee blowing a whistle when violations or foul play occur during a sporting event. Whistle blowers in employment are brave individuals who play a instrumental role in stopping corporate corruption and defending a fair workplace for all of us.
A number of laws prohibit companies from retaliating against employees who object to conduct they reasonably believe is illegal. In California, Government Code Section 8547 protects whistleblowers in state government positions, while Labor Code Section 1102.5 outlaws companies in the private sector from retaliating against employees who blow the whistle. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act also outlaws retaliation against employees who complain about discrimination or harassment or simply request a reasonable accommodation or a medical leave.
We understand the courage it takes for an employee to stand up and object to their employer when their own and others’ employment rights are violated or they discover other unlawful activity.
Work retaliation can take a lot of different forms. Some of the obvious retaliatory actions include termination, suspension, write-up, demotion and the like. But retaliation can also be much more subtle. Here are examples of some of the less obvious ways that an employer can retaliate:
- Assigning the whistleblower to a less desirable work shift, schedule or work location.
- Giving the whistleblower less desirable or less important assignments or tasks to perform.
- Assigning the whistleblower fewer hours or no longer receiving overtime.
- Leaving the whistleblower out of normal work events, whether social, worked-related or both.
- Belittling or making fun of the whistleblower or making them feel like an outsider, like you just don’t fit in.
- Denying the whistleblower common employment requests, like a vacation day or to leave early.
- Penalizing the whistleblower unfairly, let getting points for being only a couple of minutes late.
- Watching the whistleblower and imposing counselingfor tiny rule violations, like returning a few minutes late from lunch.
- Giving subjective criticisms to the whistleblower, which itself may also be telling, such as accusing the whistleblower of having a bad attitude, not being a team player, or not getting along with others.
- criticizing the whistleblower for small, nick-picky mistakes that were not an issue before.
- Blaming the whistleblower for mistakes or problems that were clearly not their fault.
- Treating the whistleblower differently than before the complaint, such as the manager who no longer says “good morning” or who no longer asks about the weekend.
If an employer has retaliated against you for whistleblowing, contact Abrolat Law pc for experienced legal help. We know what’s at stake when your job is on the line and will fight for you, seeking to obtain a superior result.
If you feel that you are being retaliated against or are being treated differently after raising concerns about practices that you think may be illegal, give us a call at 888-872-8065. The last retaliation action that we took to trial resulted in a verdict of over $1,200,000. We are happy to talk to you about your situation with no obligation. All calls are confidential.CONTACT US →