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Whistleblower complaints

Workers who file complaints with Cal/OSHA are protected from discrimination

Labor Code section 6310 provides that no person shall discriminate against any employee because the employee has filed a Cal/OSHA complaint. Some examples of discrimination are firing, demotion, transfer, layoff, losing opportunity for overtime or promotion, exclusion from normal overtime work, assignment to an undesirable shift, denial of benefits such as sick leave or vacation time, blacklisting with other employers, taking away company housing, damaging credit at financial institutions and reducing pay or hours.

Filing a discrimination complaint

If you believe your employer has discriminated against you because you exercised your right to file a complaint with Cal/OSHA, contact the nearest office of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Information on how to file a discrimination complaint is available on the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement Web site.

Refusal to work because of an unsafe workplace condition

Labor Code section 6311 provides limited protection for workers who refuse to work because of an unsafe condition in their workplace. The protection exists only when both of the following conditions are met:

(1) A worker refuses to perform work because of a violation of a Labor Code section or a Title 8 safety order; and

(2) The violation in (1) would create a real and apparent hazard to the worker or his or her fellow workers (an imminent hazard).

Any worker who is laid off or discharged in violation of Labor Code section 6311 has a right of action for wages for the time the worker is without work as a result of the layoff or discharge.

You can find answers to other frequently asked questions about discrimination complaints on the DIR workers’ portal.