Competition between various companies is part of commerce in California. There are many different products and services that people need and many different companies trying to provide those things to consumers. These companies are providing these services in products and services ultimately so the company can make money though. So, they are constantly competing against the other companies in the industry to get as many customers as possible and make as much money as possible.
Sometimes this competition will make some companies break certain laws or misreport or mischaracterize information to try and take an edge in these competitions. This is illegal though and the company could face serious consequences if they are caught. However, in order for the rules to be enforced, the proper authorities need to know that it is occurring. So, they rely on employees of the company to report these violations. To help protect employees who report violations, the employees are given whistleblower retaliation protections in most cases.
Recently an employee who was fired from Walmart claimed the firing was whistleblower retaliation because he made complaints to supervisors within Walmart that the company was cheating in their race with Amazon in the e-commerce business. The employee claims that he told superiors that the company was improperly characterizing various third-party vendors’ products so they had to pay higher commissions to Walmart. Also, he claims Walmart was not reporting customer returns in order to boost sales reports. He claimed he was abruptly fired after doing so despite the fact that he had been highly regarded in the industry prior to his firing.
Companies in California are always trying to figure out how to get more customers and get an edge over the other companies in their industry. Most of these tactics are legal, but sometimes the company may do illegal things in order to get the edge. If an employee makes a complaint about illegal practices, the company cannot retaliate against them for doing so. If they do they may have to compensate the employee for the retaliation. Experienced attorneys understand the complexities of these cases and may be a good resource.
Source: www.bloomberg.com, “Walmart whistle-blower claims cheating in race with Amazon” Matthew Boyle, March 15, 2018