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What is a whistleblower?

In any workplace in California, you have the right to feel safe. You also have the right to report any safety violations or illegal activity by your employer. In addition, you have the right to not participate in an activity you feel is unsafe or otherwise illegal.  You may fear your employer finding out you made a report. This is why there are protections in place for a person who reports negative information about an employer, which is defined by the Department of Industrial Relations as a whistleblower

Whistleblower protections prevent an employer from retaliating against you for making a report. This means your employer cannot do anything to punish you for your actions, such as firing you, lowering your wages or making job changes. You are also protected against harassment from anyone for making a report against your employer.

It is important to note that you must make your report to the proper authority. For example, reporting something to a local news station may not offer you protection, but reporting a safety violation to OSHA would carry protection.

Whistleblower protections are extended through various laws. In California, you are specifically protected under California Labor Code Section 1102.5. If you face retaliation from your employer, this law will help you get your job back or correct whatever was done to you. The State Attorney General handles all issues regarding whistleblower protection. This law also protects you from issues in the future that may arise due to your whistleblower status. This information is for education and is not legal advice. 

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