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Retaliation & Whistleblower Protections

California laws protect employees from termination and other forms of retaliation for making complaints about unlawful conduct.  These laws are aimed at encouraging employees to speak up when they see something they believe is illegal, to assert their own rights, and to report the unlawful mistreatment of others.  Your employer cannot fire you for objecting to or reporting unlawful misconduct.


Opposing or reporting Discrimination and Harassment


The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits retaliation against any person for making a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment at work, for assisting someone in making such a complaint, or for opposing any such action that is in violation of the FEHA.  The individual must show that they engaged in a protected activity, that their employer subjected them to an adverse employment action, and that a causal link existed between the protected activity and the employer's action.  


‘Protected activity’ means complaining about or opposing a practice forbidden by the FEHA. This would include discriminatory, harassing or retaliatory conduct against an employee on the basis of one of the protected categories of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status.  It includes complaints or opposition to sexual harassment. It also includes a complaint or opposition to conduct that the employee reasonably and in good faith believes to be unlawful, even if the conduct is not actually prohibited under California FEHA laws.


'Adverse Employment Actions' include not only termination but other actions that affect the terms and conditions of your employment, such as negative performance reviews, stricter scrutiny of your work, cutting your hours, denying a shift request that otherwise would not have been denied, denying a promotion or transfer, changing your duties as a form of punishment, or any other such work-related action taken against you because you engaged in protected activity.



Whistleblower Activity


California’s whistleblower laws prohibit retaliation against employees for reporting concerns about employer actions that they believe are illegal, unsafe or against public policy.  This includes reporting either to the employer's internal complaint mechanism or to a government agency with oversight responsibility.  


The California Labor Code broadly prohibits retaliation against any employee for reporting what they reasonably believe to be a violation of a local, state, or federal law, rule, or regulation.  Even if disclosing the information is part of your job duties, your employer cannot retaliate against you for disclosing information about unlawful activity.  Also, refusing to participate in an activity that would result in a violation of a local, state, or federal rule or law is protected and your employer cannot terminate or punish you for it. 

The Labor Code also protects workplace communications concerning employees' wages and working conditions.



There are other laws that prohibit retaliation against individuals who exercise their rights or report unlawful conduct, including family and medical leave laws, California Family Rights Act (CFRA) leave, the California Health and Safety Code, the California False Claims Act, labor laws, and armed service members and veterans' rights laws.  

Call us for a free consultation.


If you’ve had the courage to stand up and speak out against discriminatory or unlawful conduct and you got fired or punished because of it, give us a call. The Falchetti Law Firm is here to help you recover the damages you are legally entitled to do.  You may be entitled to receive your loss of wages, promotions, bonuses or benefits you were denied. You may also be entitled to recover for the emotional toll that the adverse action had on you.

Our office generally works on a contingency-fee basis for these claims and we do not collect fees unless we obtain money for you.  Our Firm will fight tirelessly to protect and defend the rights of every employee to be free from discriminatory and retaliatory actions. 


Call the Falchetti Law Firm at (626) 831-9070  or email us here.

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