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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 39043
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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My son works as personal banker with a major U.S Bank. He has

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My son works as personal banker with a major U.S Bank. He has on more than one occasion been directed by his supervisor to open an account for whom he thinks may be an undocumented alien using someone else's identity. The transaction takes place in his office with his supervisor and a translator present, thus he only knows what his supervisor tells him. This morning he was told that the client's SSN was not a good one..."If you know what I mean." (A direct quote.) His question: is there job protection for him as a whistle blower. He does not feel secure going to the branch manager, since the directions may be coming from higher up.

Among other laws, California Labor Code § 1102.5 provides: “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.” see Green v. Ralee Eng. Co. (1998) 19 C4th 66, 77, 78 CR2d 16, 22 (statute reflects “broad public policy interest in encouraging workplace whistleblowers to report unlawful acts without fearing retaliation”)

To establish a prima facie case of retaliation “a plaintiff must show (1) she engaged in a protected activity, (2) her employer subjected her to an adverse employment action, and (3) there is a causal link between the two.” Mokler v. County of Orange (2007) 157 CA4th 121, 138, 68 CR3d 568, 580 (internal quotes omitted).

Based on the above, were your son to contact law enforcement, e.g. Federal Reserve Board, Comptroller of the Currency, FDIC, Social Security Administration, IRS, Department of Homeland Security, etc., retaliation by the employer would give your son a cause of action for wrongful termination, including lost wages, emotional damages, and possibly attorney's fees, under the private attorney general doctrine.

Your son can also contact the California Attorney General Whistleblower Hotline.

Hope this helps.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your response. I think my son will feel more secure in informing proper authorities regarding his suspicions.

You're welcome and good luck!
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