Bill Hunt’s Retirement

Martin Wisckol has a terrific item on the Register’s Total Buzz blog about the a-hem, retirement of Lt. Bill Hunt.  Hunt, a loser to Sherriff Mike Carona, earlier this year for the third term Sherrif Mike said he wouldn’t run for, is paying a political price for politically-protected free speech. 

When the Deputy’s Union endorsed Hunt and not Carona, well that about says it all for me no matter what sort of textual massage Jon Fleischman would provide the Sherriff on FlashReport. 

What is missing here is an actual analysis piece by someone at the Register or  the Times on this case.   I’ll help with the following link.

 http://www.workplacefairness.org/retaliationpolitical?agree=yes

 

Unlike many state and federal employees, most employees in America working for private employers do not have any legal protection against discrimination on the basis of political affiliation or activity. (A public employer can, under certain circumstances, be prevented from firing someone based on political speech (because that would constitute the government itself suppressing free speech.)) Only a mere handful of states (California, New York, and Washington, DC) have laws specifically making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of an employee’s political activity or affiliation, while two more states (Colorado and North Dakota) prohibit discrimination on the basis of “lawful conduct outside of work.”
Some cities (such as Seattle, Lansing, MI, and Madison, WI) also bar discrimination by private employers on the basis of political orientation, ideology, or similar terms. As many unions and their members are also very politically active, a number of standard union contracts include prohibitions on political activity discrimination, and some employers have also chosen to include this type of discrimination among the categories prohibited in their company’s own antidiscrimination policy disseminated to employees.

from: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/lab/1101-1106.html; there is lots of whistleblower stuff here, but you can see pretty quickly that what Carona did to Hunt is a violation of the laws he is sworn to uphold.

 1101.  No employer shall make, adopt, or enforce any rule,
regulation, or policy:
   (a) Forbidding or preventing employees from engaging or
participating in politics or from becoming candidates for public
office.
   (b) Controlling or directing, or tending to control or direct the
political activities or affiliations of employees.

1102.  No employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or
influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge
or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or
following any particular course or line of political action or
political activity.

1102. 1102.5.  (a) An employer may not make, adopt, or enforce any rule,
regulation, or policy preventing an employee from disclosing
information to a government or law enforcement agency, where the
employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information
discloses a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation or
noncompliance with a state or federal rule or regulation.

   (b) An employer may not retaliate against an employee for
disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency,
where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the
information discloses a violation of state or federal statute, or a
violation or noncompliance with a state or federal rule or
regulation.
   (c) An employer may not retaliate against an employee for refusing
to participate in an activity that would result in a violation of
state or federal statute, or a violation or noncompliance with a
state or federal rule or regulation.
   (d) An employer may not retaliate against an employee for having
exercised his or her rights under subdivision (a), (b), or (c) in any
former employment.
   (e) A report made by an employee of a government agency to his or
her employer is a disclosure of information to a government or law
enforcement agency pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b).
   (f) In addition to other penalties, an employer that is a
corporation or limited liability company is liable for a civil
penalty not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each
violation of this section.
   (g) This section does not apply to rules, regulations, or policies
which implement, or to actions by employers against employees who
violate, the confidentiality of the lawyer-client privilege of
Article 3 (commencing with Section 950), the physician-patient
privilege of Article 6 (commencing with Section 990) of Chapter 4 of
Division 8 of the Evidence Code, or trade secret information.

1102.6.  In a civil action or administrative proceeding brought
pursuant to Section 1102.5, once it has been demonstrated by a
preponderance of the evidence that an activity proscribed by Section
1102.5 was a contributing factor in the alleged prohibited action
against the employee, the employer shall have the burden of proof to
demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the alleged action
would have occurred for legitimate, independent reasons even if the
employee had not engaged in activities protected by Section 1102.5.

1102.7.  (a) The office of the Attorney General shall maintain a
whistleblower hotline to receive calls from persons who have
information regarding possible violations of state or federal
statutes, rules, or regulations, or violations of fiduciary
responsibility by a corporation or limited liability company to its
shareholders, investors, or employees.
   (b) The Attorney General shall refer calls received on the
whistleblower hotline to the appropriate government authority for
review and possible investigation.
   (c) During the initial review of a call received pursuant to
subdivision (a), the Attorney General or appropriate government
agency shall hold in confidence information disclosed through the
whistleblower hotline, including the identity of the caller
disclosing the information and the employer identified by the caller.

   (d) A call made to the whistleblower hotline pursuant to
subdivision (a) or its referral to an appropriate agency under
subdivision (b) may not be the sole basis for a time period under a
statute of limitation to commence.  This section does not change
existing law relating to statutes of limitation.

1102.8.  (a) An employer shall prominently display in lettering
larger than size 14 point type a list of employees’ rights and
responsibilities under the whistleblower laws, including the
telephone number of the whistleblower hotline described in Section
1102.7.
   (b) Any state agency required to post a notice pursuant to Section
8548.2 of the Government Code or subdivision (b) of Section 6128 of
the Penal Code shall be deemed in compliance with the posting
requirement set forth in subdivision (a) if the notice posted
pursuant to Section 8548.2 of the Government Code or subdivision (b)
of Section 6128 of the Penal Code also contains the whistleblower
hotline number described in Section 1102.7.

1103.  Any employer who violates this chapter is guilty of a
misdemeanor punishable, in the case of an individual, by imprisonment
in the county jail not to exceed one year or a fine of not to exceed
$1,000 or both and, in the case of a corporation, by a fine of not
to exceed $5,000.

1104.  In all prosecutions under this chapter, the employer is
responsible for the acts of his managers, officers, agents, and
employees.

1105.  Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the injured employee
from recovering damages from his employer for injury suffered through
a violation of this chapter.

1106.  For purposes of Sections 1102.5, 1102.6, 1102.7, 1102.8,
1104, and 1105, “employee” includes, but is not limited to, any
individual employed by the state or any subdivision thereof, any
county, city, city and county, including any charter city or county,
and any school district, community college district, municipal or
public corporation, political subdivision, or the University of
California.