Governor Signs Legislation to Improve Protections for Whistleblowers
SB 306 allows state Labor Commissioner to seek immediate injunction when workers face retaliation for reporting violations of law
SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, announced today that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed his legislation to improve protections for whistleblowers so they can keep their jobs while retaliation complaints against their employers are being investigated.
“We have an obligation to protect whistleblowers, ensuring they are free to tell the truth if and when employers break the law. The health and safety of all California workers is at stake when good people stay quiet for fear of retaliation,” Hertzberg said.
The legislation allows the state labor commissioner to seek an immediate and temporary injunction when workers face retaliation for reporting violations of law in the workplace. Retaliation against employees under those circumstances is already illegal, but it takes months – and sometimes years – to resolve retaliation complaints, meaning an employee who reports a health or safety violation may be without work for a year or more.
The bill was co-sponsored by the California Labor Federation and the California Building and Construction Trades Council. It was 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.
“When workers speak out against unsafe conditions on the job, they should be able to do so without fear of getting fired for blowing the whistle,” said Art Pulaski, the executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation. “SB 306 offers much-needed protection to workers facing retaliation for reporting employers’ illegal activity. This new law gives working people a new and effective tool to defend their basic rights and safety on the job. We applaud the Legislature for passing this vital measure and Governor Brown for standing up for workers by signing it into law.”
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