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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6931
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Customer Question

Our company is contracted by a government agency to provide facilities and maintenance management. I exposed a large-scale theft at work on 6/29/12. Now I feel like my direct supervisor and Facilities manager is harassing me for reporting the theft to the government agency. I was given a verbal warning on 8/30/12 for allegedly "sitting on a chair in the electrical shop with my eyes closed and my feet up on another chair". On 9/14/12, I was issued a written warning suspending me for 3 days from 9/17-19/12 for allegedly sleeping on the job, insubordination, willful disobedience of orders, falsifying time records, and failure to perform duties as required. On the first day of my suspension, the manager called me around 11:30a asking me to report back to work. I was not able to return to work that day but reported back to work on Tuesday, 9/18/12. I worked the rest of the week but on Friday, 9/21/12 I was issued another written warning for allegedly failing to perform duties as required. Am I targeted for being a whistle blower? The staff who were responsible for months of theft were under their supervision and has since been fired.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am very sorry to hear that you appear to be the subject of retaliation following your exposure of theft at your company.

Labor Code 1102.5 may very well provide protection to an employee in your circumstance. Specifically, it states:

"An employer may not retaliate against an employee for disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation or noncompliance with a state or federal rule or regulation."

If you exposed a large-scale theft, your actions would typically be protected by the above-referenced law. The challenge would be in correlating the adverse emplmoyment action you are now experiencing with your report of the unlawful conduct. Given the close temporal proximity of your discipline and your whistleblowing, a strong presumption will arise that they are connected, especially if you were not being frequently disciplined prior to uncovering the theft.

At this point the employment action taken against you is minimal and has not resulted in substantial damage. If you are fired, which is where this appears it may be leading, then an individual in your circumstance would have a cause of action for wrongful termination as a whistle blower. At that point in time, it would be extremely wise to contact a local employment law attorney for representation in a claim against your employer.

For attorney referrals, visit this link: http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/lris/directory/main.cfm?id=CA or visit http://www.martindale.com I particularly like Martin Dale because the site allows you to search attorneys by practice area and also provides attorney ratings.

When you contact the attorneys, ask if they offer free consultations. Most should, and this way you can get at least some feel for the attorney's expertise and enthusiasm for your particular case before you commit. Also, you will probably want an attorney who is willing to take your case on a contingency fee basis--this means that you won't have to pay for their services until you win, and if you don't win, you won't have to pay them any attorney fee.

I sincerely hope that this information helps you and I wish you the best.

If you do not have any further concerns, I would be very grateful if you would give my answer a positive rating and click submit, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you. If you have any additional concerns that you would like me to address, please feel free to let me know by hitting the REPLY or CONTINUE CONVERSATION button and I will be more than happy to continue assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Thank you and very kindest regards.

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