Category Archives: Whistleblower

What are the Legal Implications of Quitting Your Job?

What are the legal implications of quitting your job? Can you collect unemployment? Severance? What if you have a case and you quit (vs letting them fire you), will you still be able to take action? I answer all of those questions in this video.

My office gets a lot of calls from people who quit and still want to take action. This video details the critical things that lawyers look at in this situation.

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Filed under Age, Defamation, Disability, Discrimination, Employment Contract, FEHA, Harassment, Health Care, Layoffs, Leave of Absence, Pregnancy, Privacy, Race, Religion, Retaliation, Settlements, Severance, Wage & Hour, Whistleblower, Wrongful Termination

How to Complain to Human Resources the Right Way

As with all things in life, making a complaint at work is a risk. If you complain to human resources the wrong way, you might get fired (it happens far more often than people think). That is why I took the time to make a video about the correct way to complain to HR.

This video will explain the five things you need to know before you complain about your issue at work. It also covers how HR will react to your complaint and what you should expect if they conduct an “investigation.”

If you found this to be helpful, please leave a comment below.

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Filed under Abuse, Age, Defamation, Disability, Discrimination, Employment Contract, FEHA, Harassment, Health Care, Layoffs, Leave of Absence, Pregnancy, Privacy, Race, Religion, Retaliation, Settlements, Severance, Verdicts, Wage & Hour, Whistleblower, Wrongful Termination

What does being an “at-will employee” actually mean? Can I get fired for “any reason”?

This is a very common question. At-will employment does not mean that the company can fire you for any reason they want. That is incorrect. In this video, employment attorney Branigan Robertson explains the at-will doctrine and how it actually works.

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Filed under Abuse, Age, Defamation, Disability, Discrimination, Employment Contract, FEHA, Harassment, Health Care, Layoffs, Leave of Absence, Pregnancy, Privacy, Race, Religion, Retaliation, Settlements, Severance, Verdicts, Wage & Hour, Whistleblower, Wrongful Termination

New Whistleblower Whiteboard Video

Branigan Robertson just finished filming a video on whistleblowers. This video can also be found on our whistleblower page, which gives a comprehensive overview of California law. We hope you find this helpful!

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January 28, 2017 · 9:22 am

Employers Cannot Retaliate Against Employees For Reporting Violations of Law

Unfortunately, retaliation at work is still a widespread occurrence throughout California. Many employers do not know the law, so it is no surprise when an employee refuses to participate in an illegal activity or reports a violation of law, the employer retaliates against the employee for being “insubordinate.” So what is retaliation?

Retaliation is when an employer takes adverse action against an employee for reporting or opposing an illegal practice in the workplace. Adverse action by the employer can occur in the form of a demotion, a cut in pay, a decrease in hours or a termination. There are many things that are illegal or violation under California law such as a nurse reporting patient abuse by other nurses, an accountant refusing to cook the books, or a worker reporting wage and hour violations by his or her employer.

Michael Marlo v. United Parcel Service, Inc.

Michael Marlo v. UPS is a great case example of retaliation in the workplace. Plaintiff worked for UPS for over twenty years. At some point in during his time working for UPS, he filed a class action lawsuit alleging wage and hour violations. The class action failed though and he ended up pursuing an individual wage and hour claim. In the same year he filed his individual claim, plaintiff would encourage his co-workers to file their own wage and hour claims against UPS. Over fifty UPS workers filed individual wage and hour claims. In the same year, plaintiff was terminated.

Plaintiff argued that UPS retaliated against him for reporting wage and hour violations in the workplace. Further, plaintiff argued that the reasons stated by UPS for his termination was just a pretext to get rid of him as UPS viewed his lawsuits and discussions with co-workers as a distraction in the workplace. Defendant argued that plaintiff was fired due an incident that occurred with a customer in the same year he filed his individual lawsuit. Defendant further argued that plaintiff broke numerous policies, and that is why he was fired.

Companies Will Be Held Accountable For Unlawful Conduct

The jury in Michael Marlo v. UPS sided with the plaintiff and awarded the plaintiff with over $18 million dollars in damages. The jury was not convinced that the real reason plaintiff was fired was due to an incident with a customer. This case is a classic retaliation case (but the damages ended up being extremely high). Plaintiff opposeed violations of law, and even filed multiple lawsuits while he was still working there. In the same year as one of his lawsuits, the company fired him after twenty-two years of great service. The facts on their face pretty much scream retaliation.

If you have worked for an employer for many years and recently reported or opposed illegal activity, and now your employer is retaliating against you, call a whistleblower lawyer for a free consultation. You can also visit our retaliation page here.

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Filed under Retaliation, Whistleblower

Protecting Medical Professional Whistleblowers

It is the public policy of California to encourage patients, nurses, doctors and other members of health facilities to speak up against suspected unsafe patient care and poor health facility conditions. It is still very common for members of health facilities to witness first hand poor patient treatment and poor patient conditions. Therefore, California has passed a unique whistleblower law, Health & Safety Code 1278.5, for medical professionals.

Basically, under 1278.5, it is unlawful for an employer of a health facility to retaliate against any patient or employee of the health facility for complaining or reporting (blowing the whistle) unsafe patient care or poor patient conditions to the employer. Employment attorneys like Mr. Robertson are there to ensure that health facility employers are held accountable under this law.

Recent Verdict – Cancer Patients and Bad Surgeons Lead to Whistleblower Complaint

In a very recent case out of the California judicial system, Wascher v. Southern California Permanente Group, plaintiff was a surgeon who worked for defendant from 2009 to 2011. During his employment, plaintiff complained about unsafe patient care to the defendant. Plaintiff made the following complaints to his employer: access to surgery for cancer patients took too long and unqualified surgeons were handling cancer cases that they should not be handling. In response to his complaints, rather than addressing the plaintiff’s legitimate complaints, the defendant barred him from becoming a partner. Plaintiff hired an employee rights attorney to protect his rights.

Plaintiff argued that he was retaliated against for complaining about unsafe patient care in the workplace. Defendant argued that the plaintiff was not barred from becoming a partner because he was not a good fit. Defendant also argued that he did not make complaints, but asked for certain preferences that would benefit himself as a surgeon. The jury was not convinced by the defense and sided with the plaintiff. The jury awarded plaintiff $1,750,000 for retaliation under Health & Safety 1278.5.

This case was a huge victory for employees of health facilities, whether it be doctors, nurses, o medical staff assistance. Wascher v. Southern California Permanente Group reinforces California’s policy of encouraging members of health facilities to speak up against suspected unsafe patient care and poor health facility conditions. This is a very important law as it not only protects employees who act as patient advocates, but also protects the pateints themselves to ensure that Californians are treated in a safe and clean health facility. If you are an employee of a health facility and you feel that you have been retaliated against for reporting unsafe patient conditions or acting as an advocate for patients adverse to your employer, then call an employee rights attorney immediately.

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Filed under Health Care, Whistleblower, Wrongful Termination