Ehline Law Firm deals with employee rights and discrimination. Employers under California law cannot fire employees in retaliation for whistleblowing. The employee who reports or complains about particular conduct is what this section covers.
Sometimes employees report what they believe to be unethical, unlawful or fraudulent acts. And now this employee is a “whistle-blower.” California and federal law protect the rights of whistle-blowers at work. So when you get attacked for exercising your rights, Ehline Law Firm acts as your sword and shield.
What makes us different is that we have a proven track record. And we have recovered millions in verdicts and settlements. Also, a former U.S. Marine runs us.
So this means we are hard chargers with a “do or die” mentality. Call now for more information at (213) 596-9642. Continue reading about your legal rights below.
Table of Contents:
Understanding U.S. Federal and California State Whistleblower Rights.
The federal law against discrimination of employees provides protections. These laws are in the California whistle-blower statutes. Also, this is covered under “common law” for wrongful termination. Thus, employees refusing to engage in disreputable or illegal conduct may get whistleblower’s protections.
And this means he or she has protection from retaliation. In some situations, the employee will get threatened with termination or even fired. But this can even occur if they plan to report or have reported health and safety violations. If they make a complaint to authorities, they risk retaliation. But it is illegal for employers to do that under whistleblower types of legislation.
If this occurs, the employee can file a claim for compensation. The compensation can include lost wages, emotional distress and other damages. In certain conditions, employees may also receive an award of punitive damages.
Employees who report unsafe or unlawful activity in the workplace are legally safe. And this conduct has protection under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA). Also, other federal and state laws protect employee’s rights. Furthermore, they guarantee illegal situations in the workplace are not met with settling scores.
Employees with evidence of criminal acts in the workplace often get targeted. It is not uncommon to feel helpless about the situation. Deciding what to do about it can be hard since it may result in personal hardships.
Typical situations violating the law happening in the workplace include:
- Deceptive business practices;
- Violations of health and safety regulations;
- Sexual harassment;
- Racial discrimination;
- Other types of discrimination or harassment;
- Lying on financial document;
- Deceptive invoices;
- Dishonest loan documents;
- Breaching business obligations;
- Violation of obligations to shareholders or business partners;
- Tax fraud;
- OSHA violations;
- Contract Overcharging;
- False claims;
- Failure to deliver.
When an employee witnesses this in the workplace, they may wait too long to report the violation. And this can result in a vague claim. So most of all, this means you cannot sleep on your rights.
Sometimes scared employees wait to report. Because they think saying it could hurt them. Many believe it can affect their financial or professional career and personal life. Also, talking to an experienced attorney helps reduce fear.
And that is a normal problem associated with making a report. So this knowledgeable lawyer aids in negotiating an exit package. Usually, this is what is needed when employment becomes unbearable.
But this will protect employee benefits and retirement plans. Also, it can guard against payback actions by the employer. Hence, no need to rest on your laurels in fear. We can help protect you!
- Federal False Claims Act Distinguished.
Under common law, a writ of qui tam is a writ filed a private individual. But it is designed to allow a private citizen to assist a prosecution. Contrast a standard case against a private employer with the False Claims Act.
The Qui Tam here is a civil lawsuit alleging deceit by an employer. Here, the employee asserts the company had defrauded the Federal Government. Or it could be against deceitful federal contractors.
So the employee becomes a federal whistleblower. And he or she has protection under the Federal False Claims Act (FFCA). The Act provides exclusive protection that could involve compensation. Punitive damages for the employee or former employee may also apply.
- Private versus Federal Employer.
Contrast regular cases against a private employer. In those cases, the defendant is a private business. Also, generally speaking, the government does not assist private employees. So they must bring or prosecute cases on their own, privately. But this is not always the case.
For example, private attorney general actions available under California Government Code Section 17200. However, these unfair business practices cases are rare. But usually, they do include attorney’s fees.
Qui Tam is An Action Against the Government Filed Under Seal.
Here, the whistleblower assists the government in stopping the perpetrated fraud. So this is a deception that hits the government monetarily. So the False Claims Act protects the rights of the employee. Also, this kind of lawsuit will ultimately be filed “under seal.”
Meaning the complaint is quiet from everyone except the government prosecutor. Then it can be confidentially investigated by the Justice Department. The time limit for sealing up these cases is 60 days. The court often extends the time limit multiple times if necessary. Here, the company investigated is not notified.
And this would defeat the purpose of the alleged fraud investigation in finding evidence. The employee reporting the violation should have supporting documents. In this type of case, evidence of fraud gets identified first. The government will decide how to approach the company.
Whistleblowers should consult a trustworthy attorney. So that way they can make sure they get protection during the pendency of the case. And this also helps make certain the case is successful.
Employees should have access to wise legal advice. A lawyer helps protect his or her rights to damages and to preserve their career. Ehline Law Firm’s attorneys realize this is a challenging and emotional decision. Once the employee knows it’s the right decision he or she can choose the correct course of action to take.
Hence, moving forward can hold a company or business accountable for violating the law fraudulently. Fear of reporting violations of employers can be less stressful. But usually, plaintiff’s get braver with the assistance of an accomplished attorney.
These are violations by his or her employer. Whether a local case or a qui tam lawsuit, we can handle it. In Los Angeles, Southern California, contact the Ehline Law Firm. We will give you a free phone consultation.
Learn your rights. Allow our attorneys to evaluate your case. Then we can determine the best course of legal action to take. Call now at (213) 596-9642. Or feel free to use our above contact us form over the web.