California Whistleblower Law
Whistleblowers protected under common law “public policy” tort, but statutory remedy may impact scope of remedy.
- Tameny v. Atlantic Richfield Company et. al., 610 P.2d 1330 (Cal. 1980)
- Silo v. CHW Medical Foundation et. al., 45 P.3d 1162 (Cal. 2002)
- State Board of Chiropractic Examiners et. al v. The Superior Court of Sacramento County, 201 P.3d 457 (Cal. 2009)
- Sheridan v. Touchstone TV, 241 Cal.App. 4th 508 (2015)
- Cabesuela v. Browning-Ferris Industries, 68 Cal. App. 4th 101 (1998) (Occupational Safety and Health Administration remedy not exclusive)
- Boston v. Penny Lane Centers Inc., 170 Cal. App. 4th 936 (2009)
- Petermann v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, et. al., 174 Cal. App. 2d 184 (1959)
- CA Labor Code § 1102.5
- Whistleblower Protection Act, CA Govt Code § 9149.20–.23
- California Whistleblower Protection Act, CA Govt Code § 8547.1–.12
- CA Govt Code § 8548.1–.5 (whistleblower information)
- Whistleblower Protection, CA Health & Safety Code § 1278.5
- Employees need not exhaust administrative remedies under CA Labor Code § 98.7 and § 6310
Frequently Asked Questions
Does California have a False Claims Act (FCA)?
Yes, the California False Claims Act allows a civil enforcement action to be brought against any person who knowingly makes or uses a false statement or document to either obtain money or property from California or avoid paying or transmitting money or property to California.
Does the California FCA have a whistleblower provision?
Yes, the California FCA has qui tam provisions. This law covers more than just healthcare fraud, allowing whistleblowers to report any wrongdoing or fraud against the state. Tax fraud and workers’ compensation fraud, however, are specifically exempted from the powers of the California FCA. Whistleblowers under the California FCA who successfully aid the state will receive between 15 and 25 percent of the recovery in cases where the state intervenes and 25 and 30 percent where the state does not intervene.
Does California recognize the public policy exception for wrongful termination?
Yes. The public policy exception to at-will employment provides that even at-will employees have a right to take legal action against their employers if they are wrongfully terminated for one of the following: refusing to break the law, performing a legal obligation, exercising a legal right or privilege, or reporting a potential violation of an important law.