I complained about something at work, and then was fired soon after, do I have a whistleblower claim?

We get a lot of calls from potential clients asking the same question, “Do I have a whistleblower claim?” And we always initially give the same immediate answer, “it depends.” Whistleblowing is when an employee reports violations of law, safety violations in the workplace, or refuse to take part in violating the law, and the employer subsequently retaliates against the employee. Retaliation occurs when the employer takes adverse action against the employee such as demotion, cut in pay, decrease in hours, and even termination. Under California law, it is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee for blowing the whistle.

There are a couple main kinds of whistleblowers. The first is employees who report patient abuse and unsafe or poor patient conditions in a healthcare facility. The most common example of this is when a nurse reports abuse of a patient by medical staff, such as a doctor not following proper procedure when treating a patient. The second is an employee who reports a violation or the law or refuses to take part in violating the law. An example of this would be if an employer requests that an employee “cook the books,” or falsify the company’s financial statements, and the employee reports this.

If you have reported a violation of the law, refused to take part in violating the law, or work in the healthcare industry and have reported patient abuse or poor patient conditions, contact our firm for a free consultation. You can also visit our whistleblower page for more information.