Bill to Improve Protections for Whistleblowers Passes Assembly Committee
SB 306 allows state Labor Commissioner to seek immediate injunction when workers face retaliation for reporting violations of law
SACRAMENTO – The Assembly Labor and Employment Committee today passed legislation by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, to improve protections for whistleblowers so they can keep their jobs while retaliation complaints against their employers are being investigated.
SB 306 allows the state labor commissioner to seek an immediate and temporary injunction when workers face retaliation for reporting violations of law by their employers or co-workers, instead of waiting until an investigation is complete. Retaliation against employees under those circumstances is illegal, but it presently takes the state many months – and sometimes years – to investigate retaliation complaints.
The committee approved the bill on a 5-2 vote, and it goes next to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. SB 306 has already passed the Senate.
“Whistleblowers must be protected, so they are free to tell the truth if and when employers break the law, mistreat employees or endanger the public,” Hertzberg said. “This bill simply ensures that the state’s present policy to protect whistleblowers is effective and isn’t subverted by employer retaliation and drawn-out investigations.”
The bill is co-sponsored by the California Labor Federation and the California Building and Construction Trades Council. It is also supported by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO; California Nurses Association; California Professional Firefighters; Consumer Attorneys of California; and Worksafe.
“Everyone loses when whistleblowers are retaliated against for reporting illegal activity,” said Art Pulaski, the executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation. “The worker is usually without a job, co-workers are afraid to speak up, and honest employers face a competitive disadvantage. Our laws guaranteeing minimum wage, overtime, health and safety protections, and others, are too important to ignore. SB 306 allows for much faster relief in these cases and stops blatant retaliation in its tracks.”
Bob Hertzberg, chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water, represents nearly 1 million San Fernando Valley residents of Senate District 18, which includes part of Burbank and the following communities in Los Angeles: Arleta, Granada Hills, Hansen Dam, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, part of Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, part of Sun Valley, Sylmar, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, the City of San Fernando and Universal City. See a district map at http://sd18.senate.ca.gov/district. After serving in the Assembly from 1996-2002, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg invested in solar, wind and electric-car projects; and worked for structural changes in government through the Think Long Committee of California. Learn more at www.senate.ca.gov/hertzberg.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew LaMar
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Capitol Building, Room 4038
Sacramento, CA 95814