In some of our previous blog posts, we have discussed cases that involve whistleblowers who bring violations of the law into the public’s eye. Those cases might have some of our readers wondering exactly what is a whistleblower and what protections are afforded to these brave individuals. The answers to some basic questions might interest our California readers.
What is a whistleblower?
A whistleblower is any worker who sees violations of laws and reports those violations. Whistleblowers are commonly associated with reporting financial violations, but they can also report violations of sexual harassment laws or environmental laws. Because these reports often lead to serious trouble for the employer, whistleblowers have special protections under the law.
Can a whistleblower be fired or disciplined by an employer?
There are specific laws that prevent retaliation of whistleblowers by employers. These laws are generally meant to stop employers from firing whistleblowers because of the reports they make. If an employer does fire a whistleblower, the whistleblower does have the right to file complaints regarding being fired.
When can I file complaints for being fired after whistleblowing?
In most cases, you have 90 to 120 days at the most to file your claim, so rapid action after being fired is vital. With this short timeframe, you should make sure that you understand what actions you should take as soon as you are fired. Being fired for whistleblowing usually constitutes wrongful termination. Seeking help from someone familiar with whistleblower protections might help you learn how to proceed with your claim and where to file your claim.
Source: FindLaw, “What to Do If You’ve Been Fired for Whistleblowing” Nov. 02, 2014