Four years after it was initially discussed, the Senate has unanimously passed legislation providing whistle-blowing protections for legislative employees. Recently, a number of these employees have come forward to admit they’ve suffered abuse and sexual harassment, but have been put off reporting through fear of retaliation and reprisals in the workplace. Four earlier attempts to have this legislation passed have been quietly quashed since 2014.
If the Bill is passed by the State Assembly, it could come into force almost immediately. After several years of the legislation being voted down by Democrats, it seems to be believed that the change of heart came about due to the #MeToo movement highlighting instances of sexual harassment and abuse at the Capitol. Two resignations and a suspension later, pressure began to increase on Senate as to why they had not offered any protection to whistle-blowers in these scenarios. While no explanation was previously given about the delay in passing the law, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Léon has finally stated that he had believed there was already sufficient protections in place.
Under the bill, the penalties for deliberately acting in retaliation against a whistle-blower are stiff. A fine of up to $10,000 and/or a year in prison could be in store for the retaliator, and the whistle-blower themselves would be able to sue in civil court. The whistle-blower protection, if passed, will cover volunteers, interns, fellows, applicants for jobs in the Legislature, as well as existing employees. As Senator Connie Leyva said, “Retaliation is one of the biggest barriers for women and men who want to file a complaint about sexual harassment. The Legislature must lead by example”.
The move may have come too late for those who reported sexual harassment, discrimination and other offenses in the past, but it’s sure to be welcomed by anyone considering being the whistleblower on the next breach of trust.
As recent events in the Capitol have demonstrated, those at the top believing that their anti-harassment and discrimination guidelines were sufficient does not necessarily mean that they are. All too often, in Los Angeles and other areas of California, whistleblowers find themselves the target of malicious retaliation due to reporting wrongdoing.
At The Rager Law Firm, we recognize that it can take tremendous strength and courage for an employee to report illegal behavior by their boss or employer. The threat of retaliation, or the situation worsening further, can make it an incredibly daunting prospect, but we firmly believe that the whistleblower deserves full protection.
Whether you’ve blown the whistle on discrimination or harassment of a gender, racial, sexual or other nature, a The Rager Law Firm Los Angeles whistleblower attorney will act in your best interests. Your attorney will be fully committed to getting you the compensation you deserve, and freeing you from the fear of retribution.
If you feel you could benefit from a Los Angeles whistleblower attorney, call us today on 310-527-6994 to schedule a free consultation.
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