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Court Broadly Defines Protected Activity Under California Whistleblower Protection Act

February 7, 2023


An employee who alleged that he was fired for disclosing violations of federal law to his supervisor and to a third-party contractor could go forward with his claim for retaliation under the California Whistleblower Protection Act, a federal appeals court ruled. The trial court erroneously dismissed the claim because it interpreted the California law too narrowly, the appeals court said.

The employee worked as a program manager for a firm that assists government agencies with the preparation of environmental assessments and other reports required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The firm contracted with the U.S. Army Reserve Command to prepare an environmental assessment for a proposed modification to a site with 12 helicopter landing pads. The Army proposed designating the site as a staging area for helicopter assault training missions, which would require the aircraft to land and be supported by refueling trucks and staff.

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