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A whistleblower's rights and protections

California employees who notice wrongdoings in their workplace may be tempted to become a whistleblower in order to call attention to the issues at hand. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, provides protection for those people so they do not have to fear backlash from employers for calling them out. Additionally, whistleblowers have rights to keep them protected, as well.

According to OSHA, employer retaliation against an employee for their participation in whistleblowing can give an employee the right to file a complaint with OSHA against said employer. There are many different types of unfavorable actions that are considered reportable, and they can include:

  • Discipline
  • Benefit or promotion denial
  • Wage or hour reduction
  • Intimidation and threats
  • Firing or suspension
  • Blacklisting

In order to file a complaint, the employee must have reason to believe that these actions have been taken directly in response to their participation in whistleblowing. Once a complaint has been filed, OSHA will investigate and determine whether or not the action was a move of retaliation.

The National Whistleblower Center highlights that there are actually many different whistleblower protection programs out there. In fact, certain cases may even fall under the protection of multiple programs at the same time. It should be kept in mind that there are often time limits in regard to a window of action, so the protections offered and even the problems reported may not be valid if they don't fall within the legal frame of time.

One should also understand that whistleblower laws and protections can differ from state to state. Anyone planning on whistleblowing should thoroughly investigate the protections that they have in California before taking any actions.

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