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Protecting Whistleblowers: How to Report Illegal Activity in the Workplace

Posted on August 15, 2023 in Whistleblower Rights

Workplaces should be safe environments free of corruption and illegal activity. Workers spend most of their time at work each week and strive to keep these spaces safe and lawful. Unfortunately, unethical behavior can be a tremendous factor in the daily realm of a worker, creating environments that are less than ideal.

Employees who suspect their employers are involved in dangerous or illegal activity should feel safe in reporting their employers. Taking these steps to preserve the vitality of a company protects the livelihood of co-workers and the business they work for.

Steps to Report Illegal Activity

Taking this type of action is often unfamiliar, leaving an employee unsure of where to turn. A San Diego whistleblower lawyer like Walker Law will safeguard your best interests and work to protect you from retaliation, and guide you in the steps of evidence collection and documentation. You are not alone in your fight.

Understand Your Company’s Policies

Each business should have a policy for employees to follow when an illegal activity becomes part of a work environment. To protect yourself from retaliation, seek the guidance of a respected San Diego employment attorney before filing a complaint. After speaking with a San Diego employment attorney, reviewing the employee handbook, and becoming familiar with the company’s reporting practices, talk with human resources and explain your concerns.

It is crucial to be prepared for conversations conducted in private to become public knowledge, making the work environment extremely stressful. In addition to filing a report with human resources, you may be required to file complaints with state agencies or federal agencies if you witness illegal activity by state or federal employees or experience retaliation for reporting a state safety violation.

File a Lawsuit

Sadly, a whistleblower’s work environment can become hostile, even resulting in wrongful termination. Your employer’s actions may require a lawsuit to protect your best interests. These behaviors are illegal, so speaking with a San Diego wrongful termination attorney can give you the support and confidence you need.

Deadlines apply for filing a complaint or if you are unfairly targeted for your actions. General whistleblower protection lawsuits must be filed with the California Labor Commission within three years. State government employees have 12 months to file a complaint.

Six months apply for OSHA complaints, and a lawsuit must be filed within three years.

Filing a federal OSHA complaint must be submitted to a separate entity from state complaints.

A report of a California labor law violation must be filed within six months with the California Labor Commission.

Reasonable Cause

Many employees fear the ramifications of what will happen if they are wrong about their suspicions or if the perceived illegal activity is, in fact, legal. When an employee has a reasonable cause to believe that actions in a company are illegal and pursue reporting measures, they are protected by law.

Speaking with a San Diego employment lawyer immediately will ensure you file a complaint or lawsuit within the proper time frame and protect you against retaliation for reporting due to reasonable cause.

Speak With a San Diego Whistleblower Attorney

The actions of a concerned employee should never result in retaliation, a hostile work environment, or wrongful termination. Walker Law values whistleblowers’ importance and contributions to protecting work environments, their co-workers, and the community from illegal activity. Scheduling a free consultation with a compassionate San Diego whistleblower attorney today can provide the support you need before you begin action against an employer or if your efforts have led to hardship in your work environment.

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