A Leading Vallejo Employment Law Firm for Employees
The attorneys at Stephen Danz and Associates advise employees who have been discriminated against in the workplace. Our attorneys have litigated cases in both state and federal courts and will take your case seriously. When representing cases throughout California, we have earned the respect of the defense bar and know our way to the courthouse when the situation requires it. At times, many cases can be resolved with mediation, administrative agency participation or settlement. However, to truly get the employer’s attention, litigation must always remain on the table.
Together, we have upheld the rights of employees for over forty years. Our firm attorneys work out of offices throughout California to ensure coverage and bring cases in any California court. Further, we distinguish ourselves on our excellent and sound legal representation, responsiveness, experience and knowledge. In Vallejo, California, our legal counselors are highly specialized and handle complex employment lawsuits where private individuals trust us to bring forth their cases in local, state and federal courts. Call us today for any employment litigation related cases throughout California.
Common California Workplace Legal Issues include wrongful termination, sexual harassment, age discrimination, disability discrimination, gender discrimination, race or national origin discrimination, retaliation, unpaid overtime, wage and hour violations, severance negotiation and whistleblowing. It is vital to have a competent attorney to review your case to have maximal results. The following is a list of some of the most litigated whistleblower laws in California.
How are California Employees Protected Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act?
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act prohibits discharge or any other manner of discrimination against an employee of a publicly-traded company who provides information or otherwise assists in an investigation regarding conduct the employee reasonably believes constitutes a violation of federal securities laws or regulations, or other federal law relating to fraud against shareholders.
To fall within the protection of the Act, the employee must provide the information or assistance to a federal regulatory or law enforcement agency, a member or committee of Congress, or a supervisor (or someone else working for the employer who has authority to investigate and address the misconduct), or file, cause to be filed, or participate in a proceeding relating to same. The Act protects employees of privately-held contractors and subcontractors of publicly traded companies who perform work for publicly traded companies, as well as employees of the publicly traded companies themselves.
An employee alleging discharge or other discrimination in violation of the Act must file a timely complaint with the Secretary of Labor. If the Secretary has not issued a final decision within 180 days, the employee may bring an action in district court, regardless of the amount in controversy. A party to an action brought under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is entitled to a jury trial. Pre-dispute arbitration agreements are unenforceable to the extent they require arbitration of such disputes. Relief includes reinstatement with the same seniority status, back pay with interest, and attorney fees.
How are California Employees Protected Under the Dodd-Frank Act?
The Dodd-Frank Act also provides protections for “whistleblowers,” through an alternative enforcement mechanism with different available remedies. Sarbanes-Oxley provides for adjudication through administrative review, with the Department of Labor taking initial responsibility for asserting the claim on the whistleblower’s behalf. Under Dodd-Frank, an employee files an action in federal court. While Dodd-Frank provides for awards of double back pay, Sarbanes-Oxley allows employees to recover “all relief necessary to make the employee whole,” including compensation for special damages.
The Dodd-Frank Act added Section 21F to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. That section defines a whistleblower as “any individual who provides, or 2 or more individuals acting jointly who provide, information relating to a violation of the securities laws to the [Securities Exchange] Commission, in a manner established, by rule or regulation, by the Commission.”
But the anti-retaliation provision, found in a later subsection of Section 21F, provides protection for those who “mak[e] disclosures that are required or protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act,” which arguably would include internal disclosures, not only disclosures made to the SEC. There is a split in the Circuit Courts of Appeals as to whether Dodd-Frank’s definitional provision describing “whistleblowers” as employees who report to the SEC is dispositive of the scope of Dodd-Frank’s later anti-retaliation provision.
The Ninth Circuit has concluded that Congress did not intend to limit the protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to those who come within the Dodd-Frank Act’s formal definition of whistleblower. The Ninth Circuit thus agreed with the Second Circuit, and disagreed with the Fifth Circuit, which had earlier applied Dodd-Frank’s formal definition of whistleblower to limit the scope of the anti-retaliation provision. At least in the Ninth Circuit, therefore, until the dispute is resolved, the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation provision also protects those who were fired after making internal disclosures of alleged unlawful activity under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other laws, rules, and regulations.