California Whistleblower Protection Laws

Explained by California Whistleblower Retaliation Lawyers

California whistleblower protection laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who report suspected violations of law. 

For example, California laws against whistleblower retaliation would protect:

  • An employee who reports suspected criminal activity by her employer to a government or law enforcement agency;
  • An employee who reports a suspected violation of a law or regulation to a supervisor or other person at the employer who has the authority to investigate the violation;
  • An employee who reports California wage/hour law or other labor law violations to the California Labor Commissioner; or
  • A California public employee who reports economically wasteful, incompetent or inefficient activity to the California State Auditor

What is whistleblower retaliation?

Workplace retaliation against an employee whistleblower can take multiple forms.

Whistleblower retaliation can be as extreme as wrongful termination--that is, the loss of the employee's job--or wrongful constructive termination, in which the employer makes working conditions so intolerable for the employee that s/he has no choice but to resign.

But retaliation against an employee whistleblower can also be more subtle--and can include:

  • Demotion;
  • Denial of access to training or professional development opportunities; or
  • Denial of access to resources necessary for the employee to do his/her job properly.

Whistleblower retaliation can include workplace bullying as well as demotion or termination.

What are my options if I am a victim of whistleblower retaliation?

California whistleblower protection laws give employees who are retaliated against for reporting violations of law the right to sue their employers for damages.

If you prevail in a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against your employer, you may be entitled to damages that could include:

  • Lost wages and benefits;
  • Compensation for physical pain, mental suffering and/or loss of career opportunities due to the whistleblower retaliation; and/or
  • In some cases, punitive damages designed to punish your employer for egregious misbehavior, and/or reimbursement for your attorney's fees.