This fall, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance protecting employees against retaliation for reporting violations of COVID-19 health protocols in workplaces.
The county had seen a significant increase in complaints about workplace health violations over the course of the pandemic. New protections implemented in the ordinance prevent employers from taking any action against employees for joining health councils that monitor workplace compliance with pandemic protocols.
The county approved the new protections to encourage more employees to blow the whistle if their workplaces were not following health orders, especially in the wake of rising COVID numbers (both cases and deaths). The county can fine businesses up to $10,000 per violation and offer legal aid for employees who were either fired or otherwise retaliated against for blowing the whistle on their employers.
The hope is that by allowing workers to report public health violations without fear of losing their jobs or becoming targets of unfair retaliation, they will be able to contribute to more widespread protection of public health and pandemic safety.
As infection totals have gone up throughout the pandemic, so too have the number of health code violation complaints. One of the most common challenges for workers is wanting to enforce pandemic rules (like masks and social distancing) when customers or guests do not adhere to them, but fearing being retaliated against by their attorneys.
The county also issued new health orders to help curtail rising infection numbers in the county. LA businesses were forced to cease outdoor dining, which received some significant blowback by business owners, but was deemed necessary in the wake of exploding infection totals.
For more information about the protections afforded to COVID-19 whistleblowers around the nation, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.