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Wells Fargo, whistleblowers, and the right to take action

By now, almost everyone has heard about the stories of fraud at Wells Fargo. The bank is accused of pressuring employees to sign up customers for accounts they did not want, did not need and - in some cases - did not even know about.

Many of us have been so caught up in the violation of consumer trust that we haven't stopped to think about the employees behind the story. What happened to those Wells Fargo employees who spoke up or refused to comply?

Unfortunately, it appears that many of them were fired - perhaps illegally. Congress is now calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate.

Retaliating against whistleblowers is illegal

No person should ever feel forced to choose between obeying the law and keeping their job. When companies pressure employees to act illegally, employees can and should report this behavior.

Employees who report illegal behavior are called "whistleblowers." California has strong legal protections for whistleblowers.

Under California law, employers are not allowed to prohibit whistleblowing or to retaliate against employees who report or refuse to participate in illegal conduct. Retaliation can include things like termination, demotion, harassment or other negative actions.

Employees can fight back

Of course, employers don't always follow this law. If they're already engaging in illegal conduct, why not break employment laws too?

This is where the law steps in again. Employees who are terminated or retaliated against can fight back and sue their employers. These cases are often taken on contingent fee, meaning that wronged employees do not have to pay for a lawyer out of pocket. Instead, the lawyer only takes a fee if the case is successful.

If you or someone you love has been treated illegally, you don't have to sit back and take it. A lawyer can help you seek justice.

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