Many corporations and other companies in California have publically traded stock or handle various types of investments. There are many laws that regulate and govern how these companies must conduct their business. These are known as federal security laws and are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, it is not always easy for the SEC to know when companies may be violating the laws. The employees of the company may be aware though and the SEC needs them to help enforce the laws.
The employees may not simply want to report their companies' violations though because they fear retaliation from the employer. So, there are incentives given to employees to encourage them to come forward and report violations. The main incentive is that the employee could receive anywhere from 10 - 30 percent of the total amount the government is able to recover from the company. The amount depends on a number of factors, but much of it is determined on how valuable the information was to the investigation.
In addition to this incentive, the employer is also prohibited from retaliating against the employee. These whistleblower retaliation protections prohibit the employer from demoting, suspending, harassing, firing or taking other actions designed to punish the employee. If the employer does this, then the employee could receive additional compensation for the employers' retaliation.
It is important that companies in California are following the federal securities laws. However, the only way to hold them accountable for violating them is for the SEC to know about the violations. It is difficult for the SEC to know everything about the companies though and they rely on employees of the companies. They also give the employees incentives and protect them from retaliation for doing so. Regardless of the incentives, reporting violations can be intimidating though. Experienced attorneys understand these cases and may be a useful resource.