A Decision By The California Supreme Court Just Made It Easier For Employees To Win Whistleblower Lawsuits
Federal and state employment laws prohibit employer retaliation. This means that your employer cannot fire you, demote you, or otherwise take adverse action against you to punish you for engaging in a protected activity. Some examples of protected activities include requesting a family or medical leave pursuant to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), requesting an accommodation for a disability, filing a workers’ compensation claim if you get injured at work or receive a diagnosis for an occupational disease, and complaining to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) about discrimination in the workplace. Some of the most contentious employer retaliation disputes have to do with whistleblower actions, where an employee reported misconduct by the employer to the authorities, and the employer retaliated against the employee for doing so. If your employer retaliated against you after you reported misconduct in your workplace, contact a Los Angeles retaliation lawyer.
California Supreme Court Rules That Employees Must Prove That Retaliation Was a Contributing Factor in the Termination of Their Employment
California Labor Section 1102.5 protects employees from employer retaliation when the employee engages in a whistleblower action. Whistleblower actions are when the employee reports unethical or illegal activities or violations of regulations by decision-makers at the organization to a government agency or to law enforcement, or even reports the misconduct to an internal supervisory body within the workplace in order to launch an investigation. In most employer retaliation lawsuits related to whistleblower actions, the employer argues that they terminated the employment relationship because of poor job performance, not because of the whistleblower action.
What if both are correct, namely the employee who claims that they got fired in retaliation for a whistleblower action and the employer who claimed that the employee’s job performance was substandard? To win a wrongful termination case, does retaliation for a whistleblower claim have to be the only reason you got fired, or can it simply be one of several reasons? In 2022, the California Supreme Court issued a decision in the case Lawson v. PPG Architectural Finishes, in which it ruled that the employee must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that retaliation for the whistleblower action was a contributing factor in the employer’s decision to terminate the employment relationship. In other words, you can win your case if you have evidence that your employer retaliated against you for filing a whistleblower claim, even if you were not a model employee. You no longer need to prove that retaliation was the only reason that the employer fired you and that there was nothing else in your job performance that would warrant termination of employment.
Speak With a Los Angeles Employer Retaliation Lawyer
A Los Angeles whistleblower claims lawyer can help you if your employer fired you after your reported misconduct or illegal activities at your workplace. Contact Obagi Law Group, P.C. in Los Angeles, California to discuss your situation or call 424-284-2401.