Practice Area

Canoga Park Whistleblower Lawyer

Canoga Park Whistleblower Lawyer

Canoga Park Whistleblower Attorney

When an employee decides that they need to expose something harmful that’s being tolerated at their company, they are providing a vital service to the public. The least that can be done for them is to protect them from financial and career repercussions because of their actions. A Canoga Park whistleblower lawyer can be critical to helping see that these employees are protected in accordance with their rights under California and federal law.

At Bluestone Law, we can help employees who are planning to blow the whistle on their employer, as well as those who have been retaliated against. We understand the nuances of the laws protecting whistleblowers and know how to make them work for you. We also have a profound belief in the importance of whistleblowing and are honored to defend those who are brave enough to take on the challenges of standing up for what’s right.

What Is Whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is the act of exposing some action by an organization that is illegal, fraudulent, unsafe, or immoral. The organization involved could be a private entity, such as a business or a charity, or it could be a public entity, such as a government agency. Typically, whistleblowers will be current or past employees of a company.

While there may be an attempt to keep the identity of the whistleblower private, there is a possibility that someone within the company will discover it, or it will need to be exposed to meet legal requirements. For this reason, particularly with current employees, there are protections in place to try to prevent whistleblowers from suffering retaliation because of their actions.

What Laws Protect Whistleblowers?

Whistleblowing is a protected action. The government at both the state level and federal level has instituted a number of laws and legal protections for whistleblowers. If you are planning to expose something about your company or have already done so, it’s important to talk with a Canoga Park whistleblower lawyer, as they can help identify the legal protections that apply to your situation.

The federal laws that address whistleblowing include:

  • Whistleblower Protection Act. This law offers protections and means of redress for any retaliation against federal employees who expose government misconduct.
  • Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The protections offered in this act apply to whistleblowers who are reporting violations of securities and commodities laws. They will usually be someone who works for a major financial institution.
  • Consumer Financial Protection Act. As part of the Dodd-Frank Act, these protections specifically apply to employees who report any violations concerning consumer financial laws.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration Whistleblower Protections. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for overseeing safety standards that are meant to protect workers in a variety of industries. These laws protect employees who report violations of the standards.
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act. If fraud, securities violations, or other financial-related concerns are reported by an employee of a publicly traded company, they may be protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Whistleblower Program. Employees who report violations of federal energy laws may be protected by this program.
  • False Claims Act. This critically important act for whistleblowers allows them to file qui tam lawsuits if there is fraud against a federal program. This means that whistleblowers may be able to recover damages on behalf of the government.

California’s Whistleblower Laws

California also has its own set of laws that offer protections and means of redress to whistleblowers who have suffered retaliation, including:

  • California Whistleblower Protection Act. Employees of state agencies and departments who expose wrongdoing within the government are protected from retaliation by the provisions of this act.

  • California Labor Code Section 1102.5. This is a non-industry specific set of protections that cover employees who expose any violations of laws or regulations at their company.

  • California False Claims Act. Like its federal counterpart, this act allows whistleblowers exposing fraudulent activities against the government to bring qui tam claims, which will allow them to seek damages on behalf of the state.

  • California Health and Safety Code Section 1278.5. Protections here are given to healthcare employees exposing violations of law, patient abuse, or negligent patient care.

How Can a Canoga Park Whistleblower Lawyer Help?

If you are considering blowing the whistle on your employer, or even if you already have, it’s vital that you speak with a Canoga Park whistleblower lawyer. They can help you do the right thing while following proper procedure and giving you the strongest protection that is legally available.

The first thing your attorney can do is help evaluate your situation. They can assess the concerns that you have and help you determine if there really is a violation of law occurring. They can also explain the relevant laws, communicate what details are needed to establish the violations, and help you understand the legal implications involved in exposing the situation.

If you haven’t pursued or exposed the matter yet, your lawyer can help prepare for the process. They can help you understand the whistleblower protections and laws that could apply to you and what you’re exposing. Whistleblowing may also come with a social cost at work, and they can help you prepare for that reality. In particular, though, they can help you develop a strategy for how you should expose the wrongdoing, whether that be by going through internal processes or instead going straight to authorities.

Protecting You From Retaliation

One of the most significant concerns that whistleblowers often have involves the matter of whether or not they will face any retaliation from their employer because of their actions. Preparing properly can be one way to reduce the risk or chances of facing retaliation. In some cases, there may be a possibility of reporting anonymously, although this may not be an option when certain legal requirements are involved.

Hiding your identity also doesn’t guarantee that it won’t be found out eventually, particularly if the issue involves information or access that very few parties have. However, if your goal is to attempt to keep your identity hidden, a lawyer can help you try to do so.

They can also help you plan for the possibility of retaliation. There may be ways to minimize any potential retaliation and also the opportunity to remind your employer that there are legal protections available to you. If you are a victim of retaliation for whistleblowing, your attorney can represent you and advocate for you in the process of seeking a remedy for retaliation.

The process of filing a claim can often be complicated and difficult to navigate, but your lawyer should understand the process and can help make sure you are properly prepared for the situation. They can help gather the necessary forms and documentation and ensure that they are submitted to the proper officials. They can also represent you throughout any hearings or appeals that may be involved.

Seeking a Settlement

In some cases, it is possible that litigation may not even be necessary if a fair settlement can be negotiated. This route often has the advantage of being quicker than going through the full legal process. There are often delays during litigation, which means it could be several months or even years before you find a resolution through those means.

A settlement also has the benefit of guaranteeing that you will receive whatever is agreed upon. When you go through litigation, on the other hand, there is always a possibility that you could be ruled against. Even what seems like a strong case is subject to the court and could result in an unexpected ruling. For those who would like a sure remedy, a settlement may be the better choice.

What Could Retaliation for Whistleblowing Look Like?

Retaliation for whistleblowing could include a range of behaviors and actions, from the obvious to the more subtle, including:

  • Termination. An employer may be angry enough to fire a whistleblower. This usually falls into the category of wrongful termination.
  • Demotion. Demotion of a whistleblower is prohibited, as is refusing to consider them for advancement on the basis of whistleblowing.
  • Harassment. In some cases, a whistleblower may be subject to harassment by supervisors or other employees. It’s an employer’s responsibility to see to it that this is stopped.
  • Hostile Work Environment. An employer could attempt to make an employee’s work experience miserable. In some cases, they may be attempting to manipulate the employee into quitting. This could also be something that’s considered wrongful termination.
  • Disciplinary Actions That Are Unjustified. Some whistleblowers have been subject to disciplinary actions that were not based on fact or inconsistent with company standards.
  • Change in Work Duties. As a means of attempting to make work more difficult for a whistleblower, a supervisor may start to consistently give the employee worse duties and assignments than they would typically receive.
  • Schedule Changes. Worse scheduling could make a job challenging and less appealing for an employee.
  • Worse Work Conditions. In jobs where there are a variety of work locations or other conditions that can impact a person’s work environment, a supervisor may choose to consistently assign the most unpleasant situations to the whistleblower.
  • Isolation. A supervisor could attempt to isolate the whistleblower by changing their work location or assignments or not including them in larger group activities.
  • Denial of Opportunities. Some retaliation takes the form of keeping whistleblowers from having chances to participate in networking, pursue training, or otherwise advance their careers.
  • Extra Scrutiny. A supervisor may decide to pay careful attention to an employee and scrutinize their work in ways that they wouldn’t have before, likely hoping to find something they can use to hold against the employee or intimidate them.
  • False Rumors. Some whistleblowers have been made to be the subject of false rumors and lies, which can lead to a damaged reputation and less credibility, harm their relationship with co-workers, and make work a miserable experience.

If you are subject to these kinds of retaliation tactics or any others, it’s absolutely critical that you contact an employment law attorney who understands how to handle the situation. They can help you understand the next steps and how you may be able to seek a remedy for your case.

What Should You Do When Planning on Whistleblowing?

If you believe that you need to expose wrongdoing occurring where you work, one of the most important things to focus on is documentation. You’ll want to be sure that you have a thorough record and strong proof of what you are claiming. This will be essential to proving the conduct that you’re exposing.

Additionally, you should be sure you talk to a lawyer before you reveal the wrongdoing. It’s important that you understand what you will be getting into by taking this step, as well as how to handle any of the major concerns that might emerge as a result. A lawyer can walk you through these issues and anything else that you need to be aware of.

Bluestone Law Helps Whistleblowers

Whistleblowing can be intimidating to undertake. It’s difficult when you know you need to bring to light something that is fundamentally wrong, although it will upset those within your organization and possibly your own supervisors. However, you shouldn’t be punished for doing the right thing. While there are some costs to whistleblowing that are unavoidable, such as the social impact, there are legal protections that can prevent retaliatory tactics on the part of your employer.

At Bluestone Law, we believe deeply in the importance of protecting whistleblowers. We understand the risk that these employees are taking and want to see them supported in every way possible.

It’s important that wrongdoing by a business is addressed, but this can’t happen if the wrongdoing isn’t exposed. We’re honored to be able to do what we can to protect the employees who play a vital role in bringing these issues to the public’s attention. If you are considering whistleblowing or have been retaliated against because of whistleblowing, contact us to discuss how we may be able to help you.