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California Whistleblower Protection Act

The California Whistleblower Protection Act (CA WPA) is a California state law declaring that:

“…[E]mployees should be free to report waste, fraud, abuse of authority, violation of law, or threat to the public without fear of retribution. The [California] Legislature further finds and declares that public servants best serve the citizenry when they can be candid and honest without reservation in conducting the people’s business.” California Government Code Section 8547.1.

Which provision of the CA WPA protects whistleblowers? 

What compensation can a prevailing employee recover?

What actions by the employer constitute an adverse employment action?

What kind of employee conduct is protected?

What should I do if I am thinking about blowing the whistle or believe I have been retaliated against?


Which provision of the CA WPA protects whistleblowers?

The CA WPA includes anti-retaliation provisions that protect whistleblowers from retaliation by their employer. The primary elements of whistleblower retaliation are:

1. Employer-Employee Relationship. The plaintiff was an employee of the employer;

2. Adverse Employment Action. The plaintiff was fired or experienced another kind of adverse employment action; and

3. Protected Conduct. The employee’s protected conduct was a substantial factor in the employer’s decision to take the adverse employment action.

What compensation can a prevailing employee recover?

A whistleblower is entitled to compensation for lost wages and benefits. Additionally, a court may award punitive damages if the employer acted maliciously. A prevailing whistleblower is also entitled to recover his or her attorney’s fees up to a reasonable amount.

What actions by the employer constitute an adverse employment action? 

Termination, demotion, threats, coercion, or any other act of reprisal by the employer is an adverse employment action.

What kind of employee conduct is protected?

A protected disclosure is any good faith communication that either
1. Discloses an improper governmental activity; or
2. Warns of a significant threat to the safety or health of other employees or the public.

What should I do if I am thinking about blowing the whistle or believe I have been retaliated against?

Keep a detailed log of your employer’s actions and statements relating to any kind of retaliation, and contact the employment attorneys at The Employment Law Group® law firm at 1-888-826-5260 or inquiry@employmentlawgroup.com to discuss your potential claim.

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