Expanded Whistleblower Liability

We hope that you are still following your nonprofit’s New Year’s resolution to follow the new employment laws. Unfortunately, we aren’t here to just pat you on the back for doing so. Instead, here is another area of expanded employment liability for nonprofits shared with us by Thomas Employment Law Advocates.

As of January 1, 2014,  the California Labor Code was amended to provide broader protection to whistleblowers. The following main changes expand the definition of who is considered a protected whistleblower:

1.  Instead of being required to complain to an outside government agency or law enforcement about an employer’s violation of a law, employees need only complain to their supervisor or manager to be considered a whistleblower.

2.  A whistleblower may complain about an employer’s violation of a local rule or regulation in addition to the previously protected complaint of a violation of state or federal law.

3.  Previously, employees were only protected if they actually “blew the whistle.” Now, an employee can seek protection by alleging that an employer believed the employee was going to complain about an employer’s violation of a law.

How should your nonprofit protect itself from this expanded liability? Make sure your nonprofit’s policies comply with the new law. To do so, consult with an employment attorney or HR advisor to revise its policies and ensure that managers and supervisors are adequately trained to handle whistleblower complaints and prevent retaliation.

To read a more in depth analysis of the new law, click here.

NOTE: The information contained herein is not intended to be legal advice and the reader should know that no Attorney-Client relationship or privilege is formed by the posting or reading of this article which is also not intended to solicit business.

Casey Summar, Partner, The Law Firm for Non-Profits, 4705 Laurel Canyon Blvd, #306, Studio City, CA 91607

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