In California, a whistleblower claim can happen in any job regardless of its category. When there is a violation in place at the job, an employee has the right to report it without worrying about facing wrongful termination or other retaliatory acts. Part of the law is that there is protection for retaliation as part of the employee rights. Those who see wrongdoing should not be dissuaded from reporting it for fear of retaliation of any kind. When this type of retaliation does occur, there is the right to seek compensation through a legal case.
A man who lost his job as a fraud investigator for the California State Bar has filed a lawsuit alleging that the prosecutor who was in charge of disciplining attorneys fired him because of his investigations. The investigation centered around 269 cases being removed to clear a backlog at the Bar. This is the second case making such allegations within two years. There was also one in 2014. The plaintiff asserts that the top prosecutor was the instigator in his dismissal. He says that she removed the cases in an attempt to bolster the appearance of productiveness of her office and she disregarded cases that had to do with misconduct on the part of attorneys. The State Bar has also been named in the case as it is accused of failing to properly regulate and tried to hide the failures.
The man says that he found cases related to attorney discipline in 2013. In the course of his investigation, he claims that he found that the top prosecutor did not accurately report the number of cases and did not process or prosecute them. He built the case over two years and no action was taken until the subterfuge was brought before the public in a report by the California State Auditor. When the man was found to have been pursuing the investigation, there were complaints about his work as well as negative reports until he was dismissed in November 2015.
As this case shows, there are many different ways in which a whistleblower lawsuit can be necessary. It can even happen with those whose duty and job is to uphold the law. Those who have been subjected to retaliation or even lost their jobs if they reported wrongdoing need to understand their rights as whistleblowers and speak to a legal professional about whether they have a potential lawsuit.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “California Bar Faces New Whistleblower Claim,” Matt Reynolds, June 28, 2016