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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37832
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I worked for a non-profit for 7 years. I brought a newspaper

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I worked for a non-profit for 7 years. I brought a newspaper article to the ED which contained an employee that involved in a car accident which was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, drivers license suspended, on probation, & she driving high School kids around for her job with the company. hired a new girl. Two days later the ED calls a meeting & tells everyone that there will be a few people that will be let go. The ED asked me into the office & told me, "it is my time to go." Two days later the ED gives me a lay off notice which said my last day would be in two weeks. In the meantime I write a letter to the board of directors stating what happened & also all the other things that were happening in the office. Four days before my last day of work the ED tells me, "I've seen the letter that you wrote to the board, I think it would be best if you packed up your personal belongings & be out of the office before we open. This ED hired a girl 90 days before this with a 215. This company is a drug free work place. This also was brought to the ED's attention but the ED says its not any of his business. This also was brought to the boards attention. They did nothing. I've been out of work for the last 4 months. I just wanted to know if I have any options? Thank you for help.
Hello again,

I only wish that you had come here before complaining to your employer, because had you complained instead to law enforcement about the other employee, e.g., for driving on a suspended license, etc., then you would have a clear claim for violation of the California Whistleblower Code (Labor Code 1102.5).

You may still have a legal claim, but it would be a lot more difficult to prove.

Public policy may be violated by retaliating against an employee for internal disclosure of “illegal, unethical or unsafe practices” which affect the public at large, not merely the employer. Green v. Ralee Eng. Co. (1998) 19 C4th 66, 85, 78 CR2d 16, 27 (complaining internally that company was shipping defective parts to airplane assemblers which endangered airline passenger safety); Collier v. Sup.Ct. (MCA, Inc.) (1991) 228 CA3d 1117, 1123, 279 CR 453, 455 (reporting to management that company executives shipping promotional records at no charge were violating laws prohibiting bribery, kickbacks, embezzlement and tax evasion, affecting third parties (artists, retailers) as well as tax authorities).

This seems to align with your allegations. But, you'll have to discuss the matter with local counsel, because it could be a fairly difficult case to prove, and many attorneys will back away, because they don't want to take the financial risk of a contingency agreement.

For an employment rights attorney referral, see this link.

Hope this helps.

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socrateaser and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
To Socrateaser:

Do I have a case if I was let go after they hired new person 90 days before before I was let go? I thought seniority was a law.
If you could show that the other employee is substantially younger than you (20 years or more), and that you are at least 40 years of age, then you might have an age discrimination claim. Similarly, unions have contractual agreements about seniority, and government (especially regarding teachers) have some seniority protections.

But, there is no general "seniority" law that protects private employees. Labor Code 2922 provides that an employer may terminate an employee "at will:" at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all -- absent some public policy exception (seniority, not included).

Hope this helps.
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