Whistleblower is a term used to describe a person who reports, or blows the whistle, on illegal or unethical activity in the workplace. Luckily, there are laws at both the state and federal levels to protect whistleblowers. The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 protects employees from facing retaliation for reporting law violations or other unethical acts. A former employee of a school in California recently filed a wrongful termination lawsuit after she was allegedly fired for reporting improper activity.
The woman worked as controller and chief operator for the Santa Barbara County school for over two years before being terminated. According to allegations, the school's executive director had an inappropriate relationship with a contractor and misused school funds. Allegedly, the director also hired her daughter as a teacher, despite the daughter's lack of proper credentials.
The lawsuit said the plaintiff complained to the school board about the director's alleged improper conduct. When the director found out about the plaintiff's complaints, the director placed her on administrative leave, according to claims. The lawsuit said the plaintiff was later fired by the director, citing violations of school policies and unsatisfactory job performance.
Losing a job in retaliation for doing the right thing can have devastating and far-reaching impacts. Workers in California who have been retaliated against for blowing the whistle on unethical activity in the workplace could benefit from discussions with an experienced and knowledgeable employment law attorney. A successful wrongful termination lawsuit could result in much-needed and just compensation to replace lost wages and other monetary losses that may have occurred due to this traumatic experience.