In the continuously evolving whistleblower retaliation standard we previously reported on earlier this year here and here, the Ninth Circuit has now weighed in on California Labor Code section 1102.5 in Killgore v. Specpro Pro. Serv., LLC, No. 21-15897.
In holding that a consultant on an environmental project for the U.S. Army Reserve Command raised a genuine dispute of fact over whether he was fired for disclosing what he believed to be information about a government environmental assessment project’s noncompliance with federal law, even if the supervisor lacked authority to correct the issue, the Ninth Circuit “predict[ed] that the California Supreme Court would hold that section 1102.5(b) prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who disclose potential wrongdoing to any one of several enumerated avenues: government or law enforcement agencies, a person with authority over the employee, other employees with authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance, or any public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry.”
This broad view will likely make it even more difficult for employers to prevail in whistleblower retaliation cases both at the summary judgment and trial phases of a case.
Read the full post on Proskauer’s Whistleblower Defense blog.