Employees in California have certain protections in the workplace. Most of these protections are to prevent employers from discriminating against workers in protected classes such as their sex, age, race, sexual orientation, religion, disability and others. However, many employees also have whistleblower retaliation protections as well.
This means that if the employee reports violations of the law to authorities, the employer cannot punish the employee for doing so. These protections also apply to situations when people file complaints against supervisors for sexual harassment or other types of discrimination. They also cannot retaliate against employees who participate in any investigations into these complaints.
As many people are aware, there have recently been a number of sexual harassment allegations against members in the California Legislature. These complaints also highlighted that the Legislature did not have good procedures in place to handle complaints that were made in the Legislature. The Legislature finally took some steps to correcting this problem though.
A bill was recently passed giving the staff members in the Legislature whistleblower protections for reporting sexual harassment and other discrimination. This bill was originally introduced in 2014 and had repeatedly been passed by the Assembly, but never passed the Senate. However, with the wave of new accusations the bill passed easily this year.
There are many employees in California who are aware of violations of the law or discrimination in the workplace. These employees may be fearful that they will lose their job if they report them, but they do have protections. If the employer retaliates against an employee for reporting a violation or participating in an investigation, they may be required to compensate the employee and even reinstate him or her to the position they previously held. These are very fact-specific cases though and experienced attorneys may be able to guide one through the process.
Source: www.latimes.com, “After years of delay, California Legislature approves whistle-blower protections for its own staff” Melanie Mason, Feb. 7, 2018