California Whistleblower Protection Laws
Explained by California Whistleblower Retaliation Lawyers

California whistleblower protection laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who report suspected violations of law. 

For example, California laws against whistleblower retaliation would protect:

  • An employee who reports suspected criminal activity by her employer to a government or law enforcement agency;
  • An employee who reports a suspected violation of a law or regulation to a supervisor or other person at the employer who has the authority to investigate the violation;1
  • An employee who reports California wage/hour law or other labor law violations to the California Labor Commissioner;2 or
  • A California public employee who reports economically wasteful, incompetent or inefficient activity to the California State Auditor.3

What is whistleblower retaliation?

Workplace retaliation against an employee whistleblower can take multiple forms.

Whistleblower retaliation can be as extreme as wrongful termination--that is, the loss of the employee's job--or wrongful constructive termination, in which the employer makes working conditions so intolerable for the employee that s/he has no choice but to resign.

But retaliation against an employee whistleblower can also be more subtle--and can include:

  • Demotion;
  • Denial of access to training or professional development opportunities; or
  • Denial of access to resources necessary for the employee to do his/her job properly.4
Boss-bullying-employee
Whistleblower retaliation can include workplace bullying as well as demotion or termination.

What are my options if I am a victim of whistleblower retaliation?

California whistleblower protection laws give employees who are retaliated against for reporting violations of law the right to sue their employers for damages.

If you prevail in a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against your employer, you may be entitled to damages that could include:

  • Lost wages and benefits;
  • Compensation for physical pain, mental suffering and/or loss of career opportunities due to the whistleblower retaliation; and/or
  • In some cases, punitive damages designed to punish your employer for egregious misbehavior, and/or reimbursement for your attorney's fees.

Below, our California employment and wrongful termination lawyers answer the following frequently asked questions about whistleblower protection laws and whistleblower retaliation lawsuits in California:

If you have further questions after reading this article, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

1. What laws protect employees from whistleblower retaliation in California?

California whistleblower protection laws are set forth in a variety of different statutes that cover slightly different situations. The most important of these laws against whistleblower retaliation are:

1.1. Labor Code 1102.5 LC -- general whistleblower protection

Labor Code 1102.5 LC is California's most general law prohibiting whistleblower retaliation. LC 1102.5 prevents employers from retaliating against an employee for

  • disclosing information that the employee reasonably believes discloses a violation of or noncompliance with a law or regulation to a government or law enforcement agency, a person with authority over the employee or another employee with the authority to investigate or correct the violation, OR
  • providing information or testifying before any public body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry about what the employee reasonably believes is a violation of or noncompliance with a law or regulation.5
Whistleblower-written-on-post-it
Labor Code 1102.5 prohibits retaliation against whistleblower employees who report violations of law at work.

Note that you are protected by the whistleblower protections of California Labor Code 1102.5 even if it turns out that your employer did not violate the law. All that matters is that you reasonably believe that a violation of law occurred.6

Also, your employer can still be liable for whistleblower retaliation even if you never actually reported a violation of law. Employers can violate LC 1102.5 by retaliating against an employee because the employer wrongly believed s/he had reported a violation, or because the employer believed s/he was about to report a violation.7

ExampleAnne starts a new job as a secretary for a foreclosure consultant. After a few weeks on the job, she looks over some documents that reasonably--but, it turns out, incorrectly--suggest that her employer might be engaged in California foreclosure fraud.

Anne discusses her suspicions with another secretary at the firm named Lindsay. Anne tells Lindsay that she is thinking of reporting her suspicions to a state agency. But Anne never gets around to doing so.

Lindsay tells their boss, the owner of the company, about her conversation with Anne. The owner promptly fires Anne.

As it turns out, the foreclosure firm was not actually engaged in illegal activity, and Anne never actually reported illegal activity to the government. However, her boss still engaged in whistleblower retaliation by firing her because he believed she might report what she believed to be a violation of law.

California's general whistleblower protection law also prevents employers from

  • retaliating against employees for whistleblower activities the employee engaged in while working at a previous employer, and
  • retaliating against employees for whistleblower activities engaged in by members of the employee's family.8

1.2. Labor Code 98.6 LC -- whistleblower protection for wage/hour and other labor violation reports

California Labor Code 98.6 LC is a whistleblower protection statute that provides protection specifically for employees who report Labor Code violations to the California Labor Commissioner.9

Complaints to the Labor Commissioner by employees are most likely to involve wage and hour law violations, such as an employer paying less than minimum wage, failing to give an employee overtime pay or failing to provide required meal and rest breaks.

Man-holding-you're-fired-sign
Your employer may not fire you for reporting labor law violations under California whistleblower laws.

As with LC 1102.5, Labor Code 98.6 also forbids whistleblower retaliation against

  • job applicants who filed complaints with the Labor Commissioner about their previous employers, and
  • family members of people who filed complaints about labor violations.10

Example: Tom is a mechanic. He works for a garage that repeatedly asks him to misrepresent his hours so that it does not have to pay him overtime.

Tom eventually gets fed up with this and files a complaint with the Labor Commissioner. His complaint is successful, and the garage owner is forced to pay Tom for the overtime pay he is owed.

Tom no longer trusts his boss at the first garage and applies to another garage in the same city in response to a job posting. But his current employer is a friend of the owner of the second garage and tells him about how Tom made trouble over unpaid overtime. As a result, the second garage owner refuses to even interview Tom.

The second garage owner's behavior is a form of whistleblower retaliation under LC 98.6 even though Tom doesn't work there.

1.3. Labor Code 6310 LC -- whistleblower protection for occupational health and safety reports

Similarly, Labor Code 6310 LC prohibits whistleblower retaliation against employees who report violations of occupational health and safety rules to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA).11

Like the previous two California whistleblower protection laws we discussed, LC 6310 also prohibits employer discrimination or retaliation against family members of people who report worker health and safety violations.12

1.4. Government Code 8547 GC et seq -- whistleblower protection for public employees

If you work for the California state government, you are covered under a special whistleblower retaliation law that applies only to state public employees.

Money-in-trash-representing-government-waste
California state employees are protected by whistleblower laws if they report government waste.

California's public employee whistleblower law, known as the "California Whistleblower Protection Act" and set forth in Government Code 8547 GC et seq., differs from other whistleblower protection laws that cover private-sector employees in several important ways.

Whistleblower laws that apply to private-sector employees only protect employees who report suspected violations of law. But the California Whistleblower Protection Act protects state employees who report any of the following:

  1. Violations of law, regulations, executive orders or court orders (including corruption, bribery or fraud);
  2. Any condition that may significantly threaten the health or safety of employees or the public; or
  3. Governmental activity that is economically wasteful or involves gross misconduct, incompetency or inefficiency.13

Disclosures protected by California's public-sector whistleblower law are often made--but don't have to be made--to the State Auditor's Office or the Commission on Judicial Performance.14

Example: Lourdes is a nurse with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; her job involves treating state prison inmates.

Lourdes notices that some of her colleagues are actively hostile to the prisoners they are supposed to be helping. They sometimes refuse to do a thorough job of treating injuries or illnesses. In Lourdes' opinion, their behavior represents professional incompetence and endangers the health of some inmates.

So Lourdes reports her observations to a prison administrator and the State Auditor's Office. An investigation follows, and several of the colleagues about whom Lourdes complained are transferred to other positions.

Lourdes' supervisor, it turns out, is a good friend of the colleagues who were transferred. The supervisor begins to treat Lourdes rudely and assigns her to the most grueling night shifts. He also refuses to support Lourdes when she tries to get a promotion within the facility.

Lourdes may be a victim of whistleblower retaliation under the public-sector California Whistleblower Protection Act.

1.5. Whistleblower protection and related laws (qui tam, FEHA retaliation, Sarbanes-Oxley)

California employees should also be aware of several other laws that provide whistleblower protection in very specific situations.

Qui tam whistleblower retaliation

One of these additional whistleblower retaliation laws is the "qui tam" section of the California False Claims Act.

California's qui tam law allows an employee to sue their employer on behalf of the state government, if the employer has committed fraud or embezzlement with respect to government funds. If an employer then retaliates against an employee for bringing a qui tam suit, the employee has the right to sue for qui tam whistleblower retaliation.15

FEHA whistleblower retaliation

The Fair Employment and Housing Act is California's main law prohibiting workplace harassment and employment discrimination. The FEHA also has a provision prohibiting employers from retaliating against employees who oppose or report violations of that law.16

Fired-employee-carrying-box
FEHA whistleblower laws protect employees who are fired for reporting workplace harassment or discrimination.

Wrongful termination or retaliation under the FEHA can be the basis of an employee lawsuit similar to those under other whistleblower protection laws.

Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower laws

The whistleblower protections of the federal Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (which was designed to protect investors from fraudulent accounting by public companies) give employees of publicly-traded companies the right to sue for whistleblower retaliation if their employer retaliates against them for reporting suspected securities fraud to the federal government or a supervisor.17

2. What is the difference between whistleblower retaliation and public policy wrongful termination in California?

Public policy wrongful termination is an exception to at-will employment in California. This means that even at-will employees may not be terminated for reasons that violate a fundamental public policy.18

In other words, under California public policy wrongful discharge law, employers may not fire you for:

  1. Refusing to violate a law;
  2. Performing a legal obligation;
  3. Exercising a legal right or privilege; or
  4. Reporting an alleged violation of a law of public importance.19

The last of these of course overlaps with California whistleblower protection laws.

Public policy wrongful termination only applies where employees lose their jobs--not when they merely face discrimination or retaliation at work.

But in cases where an employee is fired for reporting a violation of law at their employer, the difference between whistleblower retaliation and public policy wrongful termination is hazy--and basically depends on which legal theory you and your California employment attorney determine will be more helpful to your case.

In many cases, employees who are fired for reporting a violation of law may find that it is in their best interest to sue their former employer both under a specific California whistleblower protection law that applies to their case and under the theory of public policy wrongful termination.

3. What are my options if I am a victim of whistleblower retaliation?

If your employer fires or otherwise retaliates against you for reporting a violation of law (acting as a whisteblower), then your most powerful option is likely to be filing a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit in California Superior Court.

Office-with-whistleblower-sign
Depending on the circumstances, victims of whistleblower retaliation in California may file a lawsuit or an administrative complaint.

But California's whistleblower laws also give you either require you to file, or give you the option of filing, an administrative complaint with a state agency before--or in addition to--filing a lawsuit. 

Labor Code 1102.5

Before you may sue your employer for violating the whistleblower protections of Labor Code 1102.5 LC, you must first notify the California Labor and Workplace Development Agency through an online form and your employer via certified mail.20

After you file this notice, the Labor and Workplace Development Agency may decide to investigate your complaint itself. If it chooses not to do so, it must notify you within sixty-five (65) days--at which point you may file your own lawsuit.21

Labor Code 98.6 and 6310

If your employer violates Labor Code 98.6 or 6310 by retaliating against you for reporting labor or occupational health/safety law violations, then you may also file a complaint about this whistleblower retaliation with the California Labor Commissioner.22

But you are not required to do so. If you prefer, you and your employment attorney may skip this step and go directly to a lawsuit.23

State government employee whistleblowers

If you are a victim of whistleblower retaliation under the California Whistleblower Protection Act that applies to state government employees, then the process is a bit different. Before you may file a lawsuit against the state agency that employed you, you MUST file a complaint with the California State Personnel Board.24

4. What is the deadline to file a complaint or lawsuit over whistleblower retaliation?

As with most California civil lawsuits, employee lawsuits (or administrative complaints) against employers under California whistleblower protection laws are subject to a "statue of limitations"--that is, a time limit within which you have to file a complaint or suit after the retaliation occurs.

The statutes of limitations for filing lawsuits and/or administrative complaints about whistleblower retaliation under California employment laws are set forth in the following chart:

Whistleblower Protection Law

Statute of Limitations

Labor Code 1102.5 – general whistleblower protection

Three (3) years to file lawsuit in California Superior Court25

Labor Code 98.6 – whistleblower protection for reporting labor law violations

Six (6) months to file complaint with California Labor Commissioner26, or three (3) years to file lawsuit

Labor Code 6310 – whistleblower protection for occupational health and safety complaints

Six (6) months to file complaint with California Labor Commissioner27, or three (3) years to file lawsuit

Government Code 8547 – whistleblower protection for state government employees

Twelve (12) months to file complaint with State Personnel Board28


5. What damages can I win in a California whistleblower retaliation lawsuit?

The damages that you can receive from your employer as compensation for whistleblower retaliation will vary depending on the facts and legal basis of your whistleblower protection suit.

Gavel-on-top-of-money-representing-damages
Damages for whistleblower retaliation could include lost wages and benefits.

That said, damages may include:

Labor Code 1102.5 lawsuits

For a suit in Superior Court for damages under LC 1102.5 (California's most general whistleblower protection law), you might receive:

  1. Lost wages and benefits, if you were wrongfully terminated from your job for whistleblower activities. This is the lost pay that you could reasonably have expected to earn at your job, plus the value of any employee benefits, MINUS the amount of wages and benefits that you actually earned or could have earned from substantially similar employment.
  2. Damages for emotional distress/pain and suffering arising from the whistleblower retaliation. This can include compensation for physical pain, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, grief, anxiety, or humiliation. 
  3. Punitive damages designed to punish the employer for its behavior, if your employer is found to be guilty of oppression, fraud or malice.29

Labor Code 98.6 and 6310

For claims of whistleblower retaliation for reporting violations of wage/hour or occupational health and safety laws, you may choose to file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner over the retaliation. 

After investigating the whistleblower retaliation complaint, the Labor Commissioner may determine that a whistleblower protection violation occurred and order your employer to

  • rehire or reinstate you in your previous position,
  • reimburse you for lost wages with interest, and/or
  • reimburse you for reasonable attorney's fees that you incurred because of the investigation.30

Public employee whistleblower protection

Under the state employees' Whistleblower Protection Act, your whistleblower protection violation complaint will be investigated by the State Personnel Board. If the Board determines that you were the victim of whistleblower retaliation, it may order the following remedies/damages:

  • Reinstatement in your previous position;
  • Back pay;
  • Restoration of lost service credit;
  • Compensatory damages; and/or
  • Expungement of any adverse employment record that resulted from the retaliation.31

Call us for help...

Employment-law-firm-call-center

For questions about California whistleblower retaliation or to discuss your case confidentially with one of our skilled California labor and employment attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

We have local employment law offices in and around Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.


Legal References:

  1. Labor Code 1102.5 LC -- Employer or person acting on behalf of employer; prohibition of disclosure of information by employee to government or law enforcement agency; suspected violation or noncompliance to federal or state law; retaliation; civil penalties [general whistleblower protection law]. ("(a) An employer, or any person acting on behalf of the employer, shall not make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy preventing an employee from disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, to a person with authority over the employee, or to another employee who has authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance, or from providing information to, or testifying before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry, if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of 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. (b) An employer, or any person acting on behalf of the employer, shall not retaliate against an employee for disclosing information, or because the employer believes that the employee disclosed or may disclose information, to a government or law enforcement agency, to a person with authority over the employee or another employee who has the authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance, or for providing information to, or testifying before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry, if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of 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. (d) An employer, or any person acting on behalf of the employer, shall not retaliate against an employee for having exercised his or her rights under subdivision (a), (b), or (c) in any former employment. . . . (h) An employer, or a person acting on behalf of the employer, shall not retaliate against an employee because the employee is a family member of a person who has, or is perceived to have, engaged in any acts protected by this section.")
  2. Labor Code 98.6 LC -- Discharge or discrimination, retaliation, or adverse action against employee or applicant for conduct delineated in this chapter or because employee or applicant has filed complaint or claim, instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or relating to his or her rights or testified relating to the same on behalf of that person or another [whistleblower protection for reporting wage/hour or labor law violations].("(a) A person shall not discharge an employee or in any manner discriminate, retaliate, or take any adverse action against any employee or applicant for employment because the employee or applicant engaged in any conduct delineated in this chapter, including the conduct described in subdivision (k) of Section 96, and Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 1101) of Part 3 of Division 2, or because the employee or applicant for employment has filed a bona fide complaint or claim or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or relating to his or her rights that are under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner, made a written or oral complaint that he or she is owed unpaid wages, or because the employee has initiated any action or notice pursuant to Section 2699, or has testified or is about to testify in a proceeding pursuant to that section, or because of the exercise by the employee or applicant for employment on behalf of himself, herself, or others of any rights afforded him or her. (b)(1) Any employee who is discharged, threatened with discharge, demoted, suspended, retaliated against, subjected to an adverse action, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of his or her employment because the employee engaged in any conduct delineated in this chapter, including the conduct described in subdivision (k) of Section 96, and Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 1101) of Part 3 of Division 2, or because the employee has made a bona fide complaint or claim to the division pursuant to this part, or because the employee has initiated any action or notice pursuant to Section 2699 shall be entitled to reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits caused by those acts of the employer. (2) An employer who willfully refuses to hire, promote, or otherwise restore an employee or former employee who has been determined to be eligible for rehiring or promotion by a grievance procedure, arbitration, or hearing authorized by law, is guilty of a misdemeanor. (3) In addition to other remedies available, an employer who violates this section is liable for a civil penalty not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per employee for each violation of this section, to be awarded to the employee or employees who suffered the violation. (c)(1) Any applicant for employment who is refused employment, who is not selected for a training program leading to employment, or who in any other manner is discriminated against in the terms and conditions of any offer of employment because the applicant engaged in any conduct delineated in this chapter, including the conduct described in subdivision (k) of Section 96, and Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 1101) of Part 3 of Division 2, or because the applicant has made a bona fide complaint or claim to the division pursuant to this part, or because the employee has initiated any action or notice pursuant to Section 2699 shall be entitled to employment and reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits caused by the acts of the prospective employer. . . . (e) An employer, or a person acting on behalf of the employer, shall not retaliate against an employee because the employee is a family member of a person who has, or is perceived to have, engaged in any conduct delineated in this chapter.")
  3. Government Code 8547.8 GC -- Reprisals or other improper acts for making a protected disclosure; complaints; limitation of actions; civil and criminal penalties; burden of proof; other rights and remedies [whistleblower protection for California state employees]. ("(c) In addition to all other penalties provided by law, any person who intentionally engages in acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats, coercion, or similar acts against a state employee or applicant for state employment for having made a protected disclosure shall be liable in an action for damages brought against him or her by the injured party. Punitive damages may be awarded by the court where the acts of the offending party are proven to be malicious. Where liability has been established, the injured party shall also be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees as provided by law. However, any action for damages shall not be available to the injured party unless the injured party has first filed a complaint with the State Personnel Board pursuant to subdivision (a), and the board has issued, or failed to issue, findings pursuant to Section 19683.") See also Government Code 8547.2 GC -- Definitions [under government employee Whistleblower Protection Act]. (" (c) “Improper governmental activity” means an activity by a state agency or by an employee that is undertaken in the performance of the employee's duties, undertaken inside a state office, or, if undertaken outside a state office by the employee, directly relates to state government, whether or not that activity is within the scope of his or her employment, and that (1) is in violation of any state or federal law or regulation, including, but not limited to, corruption, malfeasance, bribery, theft of government property, fraudulent claims, fraud, coercion, conversion, malicious prosecution, misuse of government property, or willful omission to perform duty, (2) is in violation of an Executive order of the Governor, a California Rule of Court, or any policy or procedure mandated by the State Administrative Manual or State Contracting Manual, or (3) is economically wasteful, involves gross misconduct, incompetency, or inefficiency. . . .  (e) “Protected disclosure” means a good faith communication, including a communication based on, or when carrying out, job duties, that discloses or demonstrates an intention to disclose information that may evidence (1) an improper governmental activity, or (2) a condition that may significantly threaten the health or safety of employees or the public if the disclosure or intention to disclose was made for the purpose of remedying that condition. Protected disclosure specifically includes a good faith communication to the California State Auditor's Office alleging an improper governmental activity and any evidence delivered to the California State Auditor's Office in support of the allegation. “Protected disclosure” also includes, but is not limited to, a complaint made to the Commission on Judicial Performance.")
  4. See Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions ("CACI") 2509 -- "Adverse Employment Action" Explained. ("[Name of plaintiff] [in a whistleblower retaliation suit] must prove that [he/she] was subjected to an adverse employment action. Adverse employment actions are not limited to ultimate actions such as termination or demotion. There is an adverse employment action if [name of defendant] has taken an action or engaged in a course or pattern of conduct that, taken as a whole, materially and adversely affected the terms, conditions, or privileges of [name of plaintiff]'s employment. An adverse employment action includes conduct that is reasonably likely to impair a reasonable employee's job performance or prospects for advancement or promotion. However, minor or trivial actions or conduct that is not reasonably likely to do more than anger or upset an employee cannot constitute an adverse employment action.")
  5. Labor Code 1102.5 LC -- Employer or person acting on behalf of employer; prohibition of disclosure of information by employee to government or law enforcement agency; suspected violation or noncompliance to federal or state law; retaliation; civil penalties [general whistleblower protection law], endnote 1 above.
  6. Same.
  7. Same.
  8. Same.
  9. Labor Code 98.6 LC -- Discharge or discrimination, retaliation, or adverse action against employee or applicant for conduct delineated in this chapter or because employee or applicant has filed complaint or claim, instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or relating to his or her rights or testified relating to the same on behalf of that person or another [whistleblower protection for reporting wage/hour or labor law violations], endnote 2 above.
  10. Same.
  11. Labor Code 6310 LC -- [Whistleblower] Retaliation for filing [DOSH] complaint prohibited; offenses. ("(a) No person shall discharge or in any manner discriminate against any employee because the employee has done any of the following: (1) Made any oral or written complaint to the division, other governmental agencies having statutory responsibility for or assisting the division with reference to employee safety or health, his or her employer, or his or her representative. (2) Instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or relating to his or her rights or has testified or is about to testify in the proceeding or because of the exercise by the employee on behalf of himself, herself, or others of any rights afforded him or her. (3) Participated in an occupational health and safety committee established pursuant to Section 6401.7.(b) Any employee who is discharged, threatened with discharge, demoted, suspended, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment by his or her employer because the employee has made a bona fide oral or written complaint to the division, other governmental agencies having statutory responsibility for or assisting the division with reference to employee safety or health, his or her employer, or his or her representative, of unsafe working conditions, or work practices, in his or her employment or place of employment, or has participated in an employer-employee occupational health and safety committee, shall be entitled to reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits caused by the acts of the employer. Any employer who willfully refuses to rehire, promote, or otherwise restore an employee or former employee who has been determined to be eligible for rehiring or promotion by a grievance procedure, arbitration, or hearing authorized by law, is guilty of a misdemeanor.(c) An employer, or a person acting on behalf of the employer, shall not retaliate against an employee because the employee is a family member of a person who has, or is perceived to have, engaged in any acts protected by this section.")
  12. Same.
  13. See endnote 3 above.
  14. Same.
  15. Government Code 12652 - 12653 GC -- California qui tam whistleblower protections.
  16. Government Code 12940(h) GC -- Whistleblower protection for reporting FEHA violations.
  17. 18 United States Code ("U.S.C.") 1514A -- Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower protections.
  18. Turner v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc. (1994) 7 Cal.4th 1238, 1256. ("Tort claims for wrongful discharge [in violation of public policy] typically arise when an employer retaliates against an employee for “(1) refusing to violate a statute ... [,] (2) performing a statutory obligation ... [,] (3) exercising a statutory right or privilege ... [, or] (4) reporting an alleged violation of a statute of public importance [overlap of public policy termination with whistleblower laws].")
  19. Same.
  20. Labor Code 2699.3 LC -- Requirements for aggrieved employee to commence a civil action [under LC 1102.5 whistleblower protection law]. ("(a) A civil action by an aggrieved employee pursuant to subdivision (a) or (f) of Section 2699 alleging a violation of any provision listed in Section 2699.5 shall commence only after the following requirements have been met: (1)(A) The aggrieved employee or representative shall give written notice by online filing with the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and by certified mail to the employer of the specific provisions of this code alleged to have been violated, including the facts and theories to support the alleged violation. (B) A notice filed with the Labor and Workforce Development Agency pursuant to subparagraph (A) and any employer response to that notice shall be accompanied by a filing fee of seventy-five dollars ($75). The fees required by this subparagraph are subject to waiver in accordance with the requirements of Sections 68632 and 68633 of the Government Code. (C) The fees paid pursuant to subparagraph (B) shall be paid into the Labor and Workforce Development Fund and used for the purposes specified in subdivision (j) of Section 2699. (2)(A) The agency shall notify the employer and the aggrieved employee or representative by certified mail that it does not intend to investigate the alleged violation within 60 calendar days of the postmark date of the notice received pursuant to paragraph (1). Upon receipt of that notice or if no notice is provided within 65 calendar days of the postmark date of the notice given pursuant to paragraph (1), the aggrieved employee may commence a civil action pursuant to Section 2699. (B) If the agency intends to investigate the alleged violation, it shall notify the employer and the aggrieved employee or representative by certified mail of its decision within 65 calendar days of the postmark date of the notice received pursuant to paragraph (1). Within 120 calendar days of that decision, the agency may investigate the alleged violation and issue any appropriate citation. If the agency, during the course of its investigation, determines that additional time is necessary to complete the investigation, it may extend the time by not more than 60 additional calendar days and shall issue a notice of the extension. If the agency determines that no citation will be issued, it shall notify the employer and aggrieved employee of that decision within five business days thereof by certified mail. Upon receipt of that notice or if no citation is issued by the agency within the time limits prescribed by subparagraph (A) and this subparagraph or if the agency fails to provide timely or any notification, the aggrieved employee may commence a civil action pursuant to Section 2699.") See also Labor Code 2699.5 LC. ("The provisions of subdivision (a) of Section 2699.3 apply to any alleged violation of the following provisions: . . . 1102.5 [whistleblower protection], . . . .")
  21. Same.
  22. Labor Code 98.7 LC -- Persons allegedly discharged or otherwise discriminated against in violation of [whistleblower protection] law; filing of complaint; investigation; report; remedies; dismissal; appeals; exhaustion of administrative remedies. ("(a) Any person who believes that he or she has been discharged or otherwise discriminated against in violation of any law under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner may file a complaint with the division within six months after the occurrence of the violation. The six-month period may be extended for good cause. The complaint shall be investigated by a discrimination complaint investigator in accordance with this section. The Labor Commissioner shall establish procedures for the investigation of discrimination complaints. A summary of the procedures shall be provided to each complainant and respondent at the time of initial contact. The Labor Commissioner shall inform complainants charging a violation of Section 6310 or 6311, at the time of initial contact, of his or her right to file a separate, concurrent complaint with the United States Department of Labor within 30 days after the occurrence of the violation.") See also Labor Code LC - Discrimination complaint. ("Any employee who believes that he or she has been discharged or otherwise discriminated against by any person in violation of Section 6310 or 6311 may file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner pursuant to Section 98.7.")
  23. Labor Code 98.7 LC -- Persons allegedly discharged or otherwise discriminated against in violation of [whistleblower protection] law; filing of complaint; investigation; report; remedies; dismissal; appeals; exhaustion of administrative remedies. ("(f) The rights and remedies provided by this section do not preclude an employee from pursuing any other rights and remedies under any other law. (g) In the enforcement of this section, there is no requirement that an individual exhaust administrative remedies or procedures.") See also Labor Code 244 LC. ("(a) An individual is not required to exhaust administrative remedies or procedures in order to bring a civil action under any provision of this code, unless that section under which the action is brought expressly requires exhaustion of an administrative remedy. This subdivision shall not be construed to affect the requirements of Section 2699.3.")
  24. Government Code 8547.8 GC -- Reprisals or other improper acts for making a protected disclosure [state public employee whistleblower retaliation]; complaints; limitation of actions; civil and criminal penalties; burden of proof; other rights and remedies. ("(a) A state employee or applicant for state employment who files a written complaint with his or her supervisor, manager, or the appointing power alleging actual or attempted acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats, coercion, or similar improper acts prohibited by Section 8547.3, may also file a copy of the written complaint with the State Personnel Board, together with a sworn statement that the contents of the written complaint are true, or are believed by the affiant to be true, under penalty of perjury. The complaint filed with the board, shall be filed within 12 months of the most recent act of reprisal complained about. . . .(c) In addition to all other penalties provided by law, any person who intentionally engages in acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats, coercion, or similar acts against a state employee or applicant for state employment for having made a protected disclosure shall be liable in an action for damages brought against him or her by the injured party. Punitive damages may be awarded by the court where the acts of the offending party are proven to be malicious. Where liability has been established, the injured party shall also be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees as provided by law. However, any action for damages shall not be available to the injured party unless the injured party has first filed a complaint with the State Personnel Board pursuant to subdivision (a), and the board has issued, or failed to issue, findings pursuant to Section 19683.")
  25. Minor v. Fedex Office & Print Services, Inc. (N.D. Cal. 2016) 182 F.Supp.3d 966, 988. ("California's statute of limitations for “[a]n action upon a liability created by statute, other than a penalty or forfeiture” is three years. See Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 338(a). Therefore, actions commenced under § 1102.5 [whistleblower retaliation] must be brought within three years.")
  26. Labor Code 98.7 LC -- Persons allegedly discharged or otherwise discriminated against in violation of [whistleblower protection] law; filing of complaint; investigation; report; remedies; dismissal; appeals; exhaustion of administrative remedies, endnote 20 above.
  27. Same.
  28. Government Code 8547.8 GC -- Reprisals or other improper acts for making a protected disclosure [state public employee whistleblower retaliation]; complaints; limitation of actions; civil and criminal penalties; burden of proof; other rights and remedies, endnote 22 above.
  29. Labor Code 1105 LC -- Employee's action for damages [in LC 1102.5 whistleblower suit]. ("Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the injured employee from recovering damages from his employer for injury suffered through a violation of this chapter.") See also Civil Code 3294 -- Exemplary damages; when allowable; definitions. ("(a) In an action for the breach of an obligation not arising from contract [such as whistleblower retaliation], where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice, the plaintiff, in addition to the actual damages, may recover damages for the sake of example and by way of punishing the defendant.")
  30. Labor Code 98.7 LC -- Persons allegedly discharged or otherwise discriminated against in violation of [whistleblower protection] law; filing of complaint; investigation; report; remedies; dismissal; appeals; exhaustion of administrative remedies. ("(c) If the Labor Commissioner determines a violation has occurred, he or she shall notify the complainant and respondent and direct the respondent to cease and desist from the violation and take any action deemed necessary to remedy the violation, including, where appropriate, rehiring or reinstatement, reimbursement of lost wages and interest thereon, payment of reasonable attorney's fees associated with any hearing held by the Labor Commissioner in investigating the complaint, and the posting of notices to employees.")
  31. Government Code 19683 GC -- Hearing or investigation; findings; hearing regarding findings; relief; penalties; procedure regarding persons not named in [whistleblower] retaliation complaint. ("(c) If, after the hearing, the State Personnel Board determines that a violation of Section 8547.3 occurred, or if no hearing is requested and the findings of the executive officer conclude that improper activity has occurred, the board may order any appropriate relief, including, but not limited to, reinstatement, backpay, restoration of lost service credit, if appropriate, compensatory damages, and the expungement of any adverse records of the state employee or applicant for state employment who was the subject of the alleged acts of misconduct prohibited by Section 8547.3.")

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