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Claim for Damages Required for 1102.5 Claim

The Second District Court of Appeal has ruled that plaintiffs who wish to pursue whistle blower claims against public entities under Labor Code section 1102.5 must first file claims for damages under Government Code section 911.2. Le Mere v. Los Angeles School District, Case No. B281843 (Apr. 30, 2019). Section 1102.5 authorizes a damages lawsuit against an employer that retaliates against an employee for disclosing information the employee has reasonable cause to believe discloses violation of the law, or for refusing to participate in an unlawful activity.

The Government Claims Act requires a potential plaintiff to present a claim for damages as a prerequisite for filing a lawsuit against a public entity such as school district, county or municipality. The Courts of Appeal have ruled that the requirement does not apply to claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Snipes v. City of Bakersfield, 145 Cal. App. 3d 861 (1983). But, it has not been clear whether it applies to other statutory bases for employer liability. Until the Supreme Court or a different Court of Appeal holds differently, the claims presentation requirement does not apply to whistle blower claims brought under section 1102.5.

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