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Whistleblower laws protect employees from being retaliated against after reporting that their employer has violated the law or breached the public trust. For instance, an employee who is fired after reporting that her company illegally dumps waste into the local river could file a whistleblower lawsuit against her employer. California whistleblower laws protect both public and private employees (not all states do), while instances of retaliation may also be charged as crimes.

California's whistleblower law was strengthened in 2014 when three additional laws were enacted and added to the California Whistleblower Protection Act. The existing law already prohibited retaliation against an employee who reports violation of state or federal laws to a government official or the police. One of the new laws expands this to also include the reporting of a suspected violation internally (for instance, to a supervisor within the organization) or externally to "any public body" conducting a hearing or investigation.

Additionally, California law now extends this liability beyond the employer to include anyone acting on behalf of the employer (such a third party management contractor). Also, California whistleblower protections protect workers who disclose violations even if doing so is not part of their official job duties.