Tag Archives: County of Los Angeles Employees

May 4, 2015 — California Labor Code Section 1102.5(b)

Greetings Members and Potential Members,

A member called concerning a matter that raised issues of whistleblowing and potential retaliation. California Labor Code Section 1102.5(b) prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee who either (1) discloses information to a governmental or law enforcement agency based on a reasonable belief that the employer is violating a statute, rule, or regulation, or (2) refuses to participate in an employer activity that would result in a violation of a statute, rule, or regulation. In 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that expanded whistleblower protection to employees who report suspected illegal behavior, (1) internally to “a person with authority over the employee” or to another employee with the authority to “investigate discover, or correct” the reported violation; or (2) externally to any “public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry.”

In 2008, an employee of the State of California was subpoenaed to testify in a case alleging that a patient at Napa State Hospital had been wrongly assessed as competent to stand trial The State employee testified that Napa State Hospital was using inadequate patient-assessment methods. Shortly after her testimony, her supervisors orchestrated a series of retaliatory moves that led to her unlawful termination. After her termination was reversed by the State Personnel Board, the retaliation continued, which resulted in a lawsuit leading to a month long trial. In 2014, a California jury agreed with the State employee’s claim of whistleblower retaliation resulting in a verdict of over $1 million.

Do you have a legal question that you would like to see discussed in our weekly emails? Please call our Attorney Call Center at (323) 836-8898. Having one of our experienced employment attorneys representing you from the onset is essential to protecting against false, unfair, or excessive charges. Our low-cost attorney service provides a safeguard when a workplace error or unwarranted complaint arises.

If you want an independent, knowledgeable Labor Attorney who will stand up for you and help strategize when work issues present themselves, sign-up to become a member of WORKERS’ RIGHTS LEGAL SERVICES. Your $25.00 per month membership will ensure that you have high-quality legal representation for job protection and enhancement, with an annual payout that will cost you the same as the average attorney rate of $300 per hour.

For further information about our prepaid legal service, including how to become a member, please visit our Web site at: www.workersrightslegal.com or phone our Attorney Call Center at (323) 836-8898.

We are committed to making quality legal services more accessible and affordable for Los Angeles County employees.


Bonnie Lane       Carla Tourin

April 13, 2015 — California Constitution, Article 1, Section 1

Thanks to those of you who weighed in on last week’s email regarding workplace privacy rights. In this email, we will address some of the additional questions we have received.

Under the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution, you are entitled to protection from unreasonable search and seizure and given a reasonable expectation of privacy. Under Article 1, Section 1 of the California Constitution, you are given an inalienable right to privacy. So, what is a reasonable expectation of privacy in the workplace?

A public employee is protected against unreasonable searches of their workplace or belongings by their employer. The reasonableness of a search is determined by whether the individual has a legitimate expectation of privacy in the place or item searched. Public employers are considered a government entity and thus public employees are afforded protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. When a public employer conducts a workplace investigation or search of an employee or their office, it must be determined whether that employee has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the place or item to be searched. If there is no reasonable expectation of privacy, then the search is lawful. In determining the scope of a permissible search in a public workplace, it is necessary to distinguish those items and places within a workplace that are generally within the employer’s control, such as desks and file cabinets, from those items that are not within the employer’s control and thus may have more expectation of privacy. These workplace items can be distinguished from personal items brought into the workplace but not an actual part of the workplace, like backpacks or handbags, which confer an expectation of privacy.

Peace officers and firefighters enjoy additional protections. The Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights and the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights provide specific requirements, in addition to constitutional protections, for searching personal storage space and lockers. Government Code Sections 3309 and 3259 state that lockers or other space for storage may not be searched without a warrant except in the presence of the officer or firefighter, or with their consent, where they have been notified.

Members of WORKERS’ RIGHTS LEGAL SERVICES who have questions regarding their workplace privacy rights can call our Attorney Call Center at (323) 836-8898.

Bonnie Lane         Carla Tourin