You’re not a wallflower. You don’t consider yourself a troublemaker, but you know what’s right and wrong. You aren’t afraid to stand up against injustice in the workplace. That’s why you speak out about illegal activities on the job. Unfortunately, your workplace doesn’t appreciate do-gooders. Your boss starts bullying you in retaliation for your complaints. But that’s unfair!
Perhaps you begin to complain up the chain of command, thinking that eventually cooler heads will prevail...but they don’t. Your employer continues its pattern of harassment until eventually you’re subjected to wrongful termination because of your complaints. Your employer’s behavior is illegal. You have rights against your employer!
What rights do you have in the workplace?
Your job is protected when you make certain kinds of complaints to your employer. Complaining in general isn’t enough, though. You have to reasonably believe that your employer is violating the “public policy” of the state. Public policy is a federal or state law that affects the public at large. Some examples of these laws include labor laws, health and safety regulations, anti-discrimination and harassment laws, worker’s compensation laws, taxpayer protection acts, and/or Medicare fraud regulations.
Of course, you’re not expected to know the text of all those laws! That’s why the standard is just a “reasonable belief.” If you think something is fishy, you should be safe from harassment when you speak up.
If you think something is fishy, you should be safe from harassment when you speak up.
Your employer can’t fire you for a reason that violates public policy. Generally, you can’t be retaliated against for refusing to do an illegal act, performing a statutory obligation, exercising your rights, or reporting the company to a government agency for the benefit of the public.
Below is a partial list of situations in which you are protected from retaliation, termination, and harassment:
- Discussing your wages with your coworkers;
- Advocating for proper health care of patients;
- Exercising family and medical leave rights;
- Reporting wage law violations;
- Reporting unsafe working conditions;
- Complaints regarding discrimination and harassment in violation of antidiscrimination laws;
- Reporting medicare fraud; and
- Reporting antitrust violations.
You are protected from bullying, wrongful termination, or other injustice because of your public policy complaints. In other words, there is a safe haven for people who complain. This is true whether or not you make the complaint to your company or an outside agency.
I’ve handled dozens of cases of employees who were harassed and wrongfully terminated because of they made complaints about matters of public policy. Call us. We can help!
Is your boss treating you in an illegal way?
Your employer may not want to respect your rights. If your employer is harassing you because of your complaints regarding public policy matters, we’re here to help. Being harassed is wrong. You’re facing a horrible situation: you’re scared to speak up and lose your job, but you can’t bear the unfair treatment, either.
There is a safe haven for people who complain, whether or not you make the complaint to your company or an outside agency.
You don’t have to endure a hostile work environment. In fact, being quiet sometimes causes bad bosses to take advantage of you or unfairly fire you. We can help to fight your boss’s illegal treatment. And we can do so while also protecting your right to keep your job.
Harassment can cause health issues. You may need someone to fight for you.
How can I prove my boss harassed or discriminated against me because of retaliation for my complaints regarding matters of public policy?
The California Supreme Court decided in the case of Tameny v. Atlantic Richfield Co. that at-will employees were protected from being the recipient of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination because of complaints they made regarding matters of public policy.
To prove your case, you only need the judge or jury to believe that you made complaints regarding matters of public policy and that a substantial motivation for your firing, demotion, or harassment was due to those complaints. If you have witnesses and documents, of course it’s much easier to prove your case. However, if you don’t have these things, don’t feel discouraged. We have handled many cases where someone has been discriminated and harassed because of complaints made regarding public policy, but no one was around to see it and it wasn’t in writing. In fact, it’s pretty common for bad bosses to wait until a time when you’re alone before they harass you.
If you’ve been treated unfairly because of your complaints, that’s wrong. You deserve to be treated with respect.
We can help you fight for justice.
We want to do everything to make things easier for you. We’re here for you!
Please make an appointment for a free consultation in our Newport Beach office. You can contact us by email or phone. We want to help.