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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 33877
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I have been working on a project for a small food company;

Resolved Question:

I have been working on a project for a small food company; the project is regulated under Federal PSM and CalOSHA standards. I have had constant frustration with management and the contractor building the project. Finally I had to resort to "screaming at the top of my lungs" (not literally) to try and get someone to listen. I spoke with my HR rep about my protection under the Whistle Blower laws; he said I was protected even if I was incorrect about my concerns. He said they couldn't treat me differently, reduce my responsibilities, etc. Last week management removed me as the project manager. The project being built does not comply with industry or government safety requirements. They have even gone as far as suggesting that if I decide the company isn't a good fit for me they would put together a "financial package" to ease my exit; I'm sure that package will have a claus to keep my mouth shut. They haven't fired me; I don't think they dare, however, they are breaking OSHA and CalOSHA laws daily and my responsibility as a citizen and for the community is weighing heavy on me.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
Unless you actually report your management to law enforcement, you are not eligible for whistleblower protection. Cal. Labor Code §§ 1102.5(a); 6310(a); Foley v. Interactive Data Corp. (1988) 47 C3d 654, 669–670, 254 CR 211, 217. So, if you have a good faith belief that your employer is engaged in a violation of Cal-OSHA or some other law, then you may want to make the report to the relevant law enforcement authority.

Hope this helps.


And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“ToCustomerrdquo;), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Am I liable as an individual if I allow or don't report unsafe conditions or violations of the law and someone eventually gets hurt or killed?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
If another employee is injured or killed, then that person's recourse is solely to the workers' compensation insurance system. The employer and you are immune, as long as you are accting within the scope of employment (unless, of course, you were to actually intend a physical injury to an employee, because that would be criminal assault, or murder).

However, if a third party is injured (customer, guest, inspector, bystander, employee of some other employer, etc.), then you could be held liable by the third party, because the wokers' compensation law only immunizes the employer and its agents/employees from liability to its own employees -- not to third parties.

Labor Code 2802 requires an employer to indemnify empoyees for losses incurred within the scope of employment -- so, even if you were sued by a third party, your employer would be on the hook. But, sometimes, an injury produces huge damages -- big enough to put an employer into liquidation bankruptcy. If your employer is not a large multinational business, then there remains the possibility that you could actually be liable for damages -- though in most cases, that risk is minimal.

Hope this helps.


And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“ToCustomerrdquo;), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!

socrateaser, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 33877
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and 2 other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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