Two California Court of Appeal districts have significantly expanded employee protection for whistle-blowers. The cases highlight that employees don’t actually have to “blow the whistle” to be protected from retaliation.
In fact, an employee who is merely suspected of doing so may be protected if an employer fires her or otherwise punishes her for the suspected whistle-blowing.
The cases: In the first case, Linda worked for Santa Clara University as a senior administrator in the real estate department. She alleged that the department director engaged in wrongdoing such as embezzlement, kickback schemes and tax evasion.
Linda raised her suspicions with the risk manager, finance director and budget director. The university investigated—and then fired Linda.
She sued and the lower court tossed her case out because Santa Clara is a private university.
The California Court of Appeal reversed, concluding that even if Linda’s co...(register to read more)