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LABOR CODE 1102.5 WHISTLEBLOWING

  • Practice Area Labor Code 1102.5
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  • Practice Area Labor Code 1102.5
  • Practice Area Labor Code 1102.5

Section 1102.5 essentially prohibited an employer from retaliating against an employee who either (1) discloses information to a governmental or law enforcement agency based on a reasonable belief that the employer is violating a statute, rule, or regulation, or (2) refuses to participate in an employer activity that would result in a violation of a statute, rule, or regulation. California Governor Jerry Brown just a few years ago signed new amendments to Section 1102.5 extend whistleblower protection not only to employees under the circumstances described above, but also to employees who report suspected illegal behavior: (1) internally to “a person with authority over the employee” or to another employee with the authority to “investigate discover, or correct” the reported violation; or (2) externally to any “public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry.” Taking it a step even further, the new amendments also provide protection to employees who allege that they have been retaliated against because the employer “believes” that the employee disclosed or may disclose information internally or externally. This last amendment exposes an employer to potential allegations of retaliation under Section 1102.5 based on the belief that an employee disclosed or might disclose information about a reasonably-believed violation of federal, state, or local law, even if the employee in fact did not make such a disclosure. What this means is that just about any complaint made or believed to have been made by an employee internally or externally alleging activity reasonably believed to be unlawful can now form the basis for a whistleblower retaliation claim under Section 1102.5. Thus, if an employee complains to the employer about an unsafe work condition under Labor Code 6310 and is retaliated against, this could be actionable.