County Settles With Social Worker Fired in Retaliation for Whistleblower Claims
Whistleblower protections apply to all employees who report misconduct by their employers. These protections prohibit employers from firing, demoting, or otherwise taking adverse actions against employees when they report misconduct by their supervisors internally within the company or to regulators or other third parties. It is against the law for your employer to fire you for reporting misconduct, regardless of the nature of the misconduct. From a legal perspective, a whistleblower is a whistleblower regardless of the misconduct he or she is reporting, be it financial mismanagement, sexual harassment, environmental pollution, or anything else, up to and including life-threatening emergencies. In a recent case, a county settled with a whistleblower who alleged that his employer’s mishandling of reports of child abuse led to the deaths of several children. A Los Angeles retaliation lawyer can help you if your employer retaliated against you for a whistleblower action, even if the misconduct you reported seems trivial by comparison with this case.
Whistleblower Alleged That Inaction by DCFS Put Children’s Lives at Risk
A populous county in California recently paid $1.85 million to settle a lawsuit by a former employee who claimed that the county fired him in retaliation for a whistleblower action. The plaintiff was a social worker for the county’s Department of Children and Family Services. In 2016, the plaintiff made the first of a series of complaints to state regulators about his county’s mismanagement of cases. In multiple instances, the county delayed its response to reports of child abuse. In others, it categorized some children’s situations as less dangerous than they were after visits by social workers revealed clear signs that the children were in danger. Over the next few years, several children died as a result of abuse by parents and family caregivers, days after DCFS had failed to take appropriate action in response to reports by the families’ landlords or the children’s extended family members.
The more the plaintiff spoke up about his concerns, the more the county made his situation at work difficult. First, it revoked the disability accommodations that had enabled the employee to work from home most of the time. The employer wrote increasingly negative performance reviews of the plaintiff’s work, despite that the families he served consistently spoke highly of his work. In May 2019, the county fired him after his 24-year tenure with DCFS, claiming that he had accessed some records without permission and fabricated other records. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against his former employer in June 2020, citing employer retaliation and wrongful termination of employment. The case settled in April 2022.
Speak With a Los Angeles Employer Retaliation Lawyer
Your whistleblower action might have saved lives, but even if it was not about matters of life or death, you still had the right to make the disclosure. A Los Angeles employer retaliation lawyer can help you if your employer fired you in retaliation for a whistleblower action. Contact Obagi Law Group, P.C. in Los Angeles, California to discuss your situation or call 424-284-2401.