Like other states, California offers protection to employees, even at-will employees who do not belong to a union, when an employee feels it is necessary to report illegal conduct on the part of their employer. However, it is important for employees to understand exactly who qualifies as a whistleblower who is protected from getting fired.
The important thing to remember is that whistleblower is one who reports conduct which is actually illegal under either federal or state law. On a related point, violating regulations of state, federal or even the Los Angeles local authorities can also be reported. Even if not illegal strictly speaking, a worker can also report unsafe working conditions.
However, the fact an employee finds a company's practices to be unduly risk, unethical or even morally repugnant do not necessarily mean that employee can report such conduct with no repercussions from his or her employer.
Moreover, it is important for an employee who is thinking about making a report to remember that he or she cannot just report the illegal conduct to anyone, post it on social media or even contact the press about it. A whistleblower is only protected from getting fired or disciplined to the extent he or she reports a law violation either to an outside authority or to someone within the company who has the power to correct the law violation.
Although there are certain nuances to the law, employees in the Los Angeles area should remember that the law protects them should they have to do the right thing an report illegal conduct on the part of their employer. An employer who ignores these protections could face civil penalties or a lawsuit filed by their former employee.