GrahamHollis APC

Can a whistleblower remain anonymous?

Not all organizations are as upfront and honest about their business practices as they should be. When an employer's deceitful or unjust behaviors go so far as to break the law, employees may carry a heavy conscience.

If you're considering reporting misconduct in your workplace, here are a few things you should know.

Can I wear a mask while seeking justice?

If superheroes can save the day behind a mask, can't you? The answer depends on the specific situation.

California employment law doesn't necessarily guarantee anonymity for those who report a crime to a government or law enforcement agency. While your company may allow anonymous complaints or claim to safeguard your privacy, you may still be required to testify before a public body conducting an investigation or hearing. However, you may choose to report illegal activity to an external agency, such as a news outlet, that may offer you anonymity.

You also have a right to report harassment or discrimination to the appropriate government agency. Additionally, if you have been the victim of harassment or discrimination, you may be owed compensation for what you have endured. Speak with an employment law attorney if you have questions about filing a complaint regarding a hostile work environment.

What's the risk in whistleblowing?

If you choose to make a complaint, there should be no risk to your career. The law offers protections to employees who are retaliated against by a supervisor or co-workers for whistleblowing. This protection has also been extended to include reports made internally or externally. That means you have legal recourse if you are retaliated against by an employer for reporting illegal activity to a supervisor or to a news outlet.

Retaliation can take many forms, including firing or subjecting an employee to adversity in the workplace, such as demotion or mistreatment.

What if I am retaliated against for making a claim?

It is your civil right to report crimes or workplace misconduct, including harassment or a hostile work environment. If you are treated negatively in response to your claim, you may file a lawsuit seeking damages up to three years after the incident or one year after if you are suing for civil penalties.

If you believe you have been retaliated against in the workplace for whistleblowing or making another claim within your employment rights, such as for discrimination or harassment, it's a good idea to have a skilled legal advocate on your side to protect your rights and interests.

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