An Employment Law Firm Serving Fremont Employees
At Stephen Danz and Associates we provide unparalleled resources and knowledge to employment law matters throughout California. We obtain these resources from the local attorneys that we partner with on your case whether it takes place in southern or northern California. In Fremont, California, our employment counsel clients guided by their experience, depth of knowledge and commitment to maximizing results on behalf of employees. When California employers unlawfully fail to obey by federal and state laws and regulations, Stephen Danz and Associates step in to take appropriate legal action. As one of the prominent law firms in California handling workplace harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, and retaliation, our firm is proud to step in and speak on behalf of California employees. This year, we celebrate four decades of unrelenting service for employees throughout California. Contact our office for a complimentary consultation.
One of the most prominent areas at Stephen Danz and Associates is Whistleblower Representation. To ensure that whistleblowers are protected, our attorneys at times utilize Labor Code Section 1102.5 among other laws. This law prohibits retaliation by an employer against an employee under one of the following circumstances:
- Disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, when the employee has reasonable cause to believe the information reveals a violation of a state or federal statute or a violation of or noncompliance with a local, state or federal rule or regulation, regardless of whether disclosing the information is part of the employee’s job duties. A report by an employee of a government agency to the employee’s own employer is a disclosure of information to a government or law enforcement agency.
- For refusing to participate in an activity that would result in a violation of state or federal statute or a violation of or noncompliance with a local, state or federal rule or regulation.
- For having exercised rights against retaliation in a former employment.
- Because the employee is a family member of a person who has or is perceived to have, engaged in protected acts.
What is considered an “Employee” to benefit from Whistleblower Anti-Retaliation Protection?
An individual employed by any of the following:
- The state or its subdivisions.
- A county.
- A city.
- A city and county.
- A school district.
- A community college district.
- A municipal or public corporation.
- A political subdivision.
- The University of California.
What Requirements Are There for Whistleblowers to be Protected from Retaliation?
First, we remind our clients that there is no “first report” rule applicable. Whistleblower protection is not limited only to an employee who discloses unlawful conduct that had not been previously disclosed by another employee. A report does not necessarily reveal something hidden or unknown. Protection only to the first employee to disclose unlawful acts would defeat the legislative purpose of protecting workplace whistleblowers, as employees would not come forward to report unlawful conduct for fear that someone else already had done so. The report of “publicly known” information or “already known” information is distinct from a rule in which only the first employee to report or disclose unlawful conduct is entitled to protection from whistleblower retaliation.
What Does “adverse employment action” apply to in an Employment Retaliation Lawsuit?
Similar to employment retaliation lawsuits pursuant to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) and Labor Code 1102.5, California public policy precludes an employer from retaliating against an employee based on the employer’s mistaken belief that the employee disclosed information to a government agency regarding the employer’s alleged violation of, or noncompliance with, state law, even if the employee did not actually make the disclosure.
In some instances, employees are not acting on mistaken beliefs, but rather find themselves entangled in an unanticipated circumstance. California’s Labor Code 1102.5 does not apply to rules, regulations, or policies that implement, or actions against employees who violate, any of the following:
- The confidentiality of the lawyer-client privilege.
- The confidentiality of the physician-patient privilege.
- Trade secret information.
It also does not apply to violations of a charter city’s municipal law, as they are not deemed violations of state law for these purposes, or when the alleged violation is of an employer’s own policies. Personnel matters, such as transferring employees, writing up employees, and counseling employees, also do not come within these provisions.
When the employer provides administrative remedies, the employee must exhaust those remedies prior to filing a lawsuit, even when no internal damage remedy is available or the plaintiff seeks only money damages.
Under Labor Code Section 98.7, a person who believes he or she was otherwise discriminated against in violation of any law under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner may file a complaint within six months after the occurrence of the violation. Courts were split on whether § 98.7 applied to claims under section 1102.5. Subsequently, the Legislature amended Labor Code 98.7 to expressly provide that there is no requirement that an individual exhaust administrative remedies or procedures in the enforcement of that section. The employee must establish a prima facie case of retaliation.