Legislation surrounding whistleblowing in the workplace is complicated and constitutes a broad topic in the greater subject of the laws of employment. Matters of employment law can be complex; especially if an employee has taken steps they believe to be in accordance with the laws. However, these actions have caused his or her employer to retaliate against them.
A whistleblower is a person who reports on their employer when that employer has broken the law or breached the public's trust. There are countless ways that employers can violate these rules and often the manner in which an employer breaks a confidence or law will be specific to their industry. When an employee finds out about such malfeasance and takes the initiative to report it to the proper authorities, they become a whistleblower.
In California, the state legislature as enacted the California Whistleblower Protection Act. Generally, employers may not take retaliatory action against whistleblowers, such as firing them or otherwise subjecting them to adverse employment actions. As long as the employee's belief that the employer is violating the law is reasonable they should be protected under the whistleblower legislation.
Several years ago the state expanded the former whistleblower laws to include broader protections for employees. Readers who have reported the malfeasance of their employers and who believe that they have suffered for it are encouraged to seek legal assistance. Their employers are not permitted to penalize them for reporting on the employers' bad acts and employees who have suffered retaliation for their actions may have rights to seek compensation for their losses.