Leave it to the Great State of California to pass legislation barring retaliation against all whistleblowers. The new law set to take effect January 1, 2014, amends protections for government employees and amends the Labor Code to include all people employed within the State.
This is a breakthrough in whistleblower protections because anyone doing business in the State, including the federal government (each federal agency is a corporation), will be subject to the new law. I’m sure some people will disagree with me on whether this law can protect employees of federal agencies citing jurisdiction but I’d argue that the federal government may not violate State employment laws for residents. Possible Supreme Court case on the horizon…
Residence in California has it’s benefits when legislators are watching out for the people and ensuring employment rights are protected from those who retaliate against whistleblowers. We applaud the Great State of California law makers.
Keep up the good work!
Section 1102.5 of the Labor Code is amended to read:
In my own whistleblower experience, a key disclosure was numerous grantees receiving federal funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) were violating State of California licensing laws, in operation of group homes for minors. When I discovered this information, I reported to management and HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) the law enforcement arm of the agency. The protected disclosures were also reported to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) who did absolutely nothing to protect my rights. In January 2008, after many months of retaliation, HHS management announced that my findings that grantees had to be licensed by their respective State was correct.
But that did not stop the retaliation from management including Stanley Koutstaal and Curtis Porter who were angry they had been exposed for approving funding for grantees that they knew were violating State licensing law. Both were complicit is helping grantees violate State law throughout the nation. This noncompliance with State law put children at risk and were a danger to public health and safety. In some shelters nationwide there were no smoke alarms, no safe exists, no food, no finger-printing or background checks on staff, children sleeping in beds next to adults, bed bugs, dispensing of meds without medically trained personnel, family and child counseling by people with a GED…the list went on and on…HHS management sought to hide it all.
In the Interlocutory Appeal (below) requesting a stay of prohibited personnel practices, we raised the issue that for me to approve funding to grantees who were violating State and federal (RHY) law, I would be complicit. As a California resident, I could not violate State law. The Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) in San Francisco, California ignored the State and federal statutes on these issues.
On the advice of counsel, I continued to refuse to sign approvals for funding to grantees that were unlicensed by the State, violating federal statute and state law. Since I was a mandatory reporter, I then notified the State of California about at least one grantee in the San Jose, California named Emergency Housing Consortium (EHC) which had been operating an unlicensed group home for over 20 years. EHC falsely told the State for over 20 years that HHS did not require licensing. EHC then gave me documents showing they had an exception from the State licensing.
The exemption obtained by fraud to the State was over 10 years old and the building had been demolished 6 years earlier. EHC executives knew they were not exempt yet they spent the funding year after year using a decrepit trailer in a back yard as a shelter. A trailer that was unsafe, filthy and did not provide any food to minors and also housed homeless adults.
HHS had Bill Clair in Chicago, Illinois sign the grant funding awards. Mr. Clair and his superiors knew they were violating State law and federal statute by allowing group homes to operate without a license. They also knew that children were being sexually molested as the result of the lack of licensing enforcement. Stan Koutstaal, Bill Clair and Curtis Porter all remain HHS employees. One need only read the below to see how these 3 co-conspirators operated. They all should be fired.