2023 California Code
Welfare and Institutions Code - WIC
DIVISION 5 - COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
PART 1 - THE LANTERMAN-PETRIS-SHORT ACT
CHAPTER 6.2 - Mental Health Advocacy
ARTICLE 3 - County Advocates
Section 5525.

5525. (a) An employer, or any person acting on behalf of the employer, shall not make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy preventing a county patients’ rights advocate from disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, to a person with authority over the county patients’ rights advocate, or to an employee who has authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance, or from providing information to, or testifying before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry, if the county patients’ rights advocate has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation of, or noncompliance with, a local, state, or federal rule or regulation, regardless of whether disclosing the information is part of the county patients’ rights advocate’s job duties.

(b) An employer, or any person acting on behalf of the employer, shall not retaliate against a county patients’ rights advocate for disclosing information, or because the employer believes that the county patients’ rights advocate disclosed or may disclose information, to a government or law enforcement agency, to a person with authority over the county patients’ rights advocate, or to an employee who has the authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance, or for providing information to, or testifying before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry, if the county patients’ rights advocate has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation of, or noncompliance with, a local, state, or federal rule or regulation, regardless of whether disclosing the information is part of the county patients’ rights advocate’s job duties.

(c) An employer, or any person acting on behalf of the employer, shall not retaliate against a county patients’ rights advocate for refusing to participate in an activity that would result in a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation of or noncompliance with a local, state, or federal rule or regulation.

(d) An employer, or any person acting on behalf of the employer, shall not retaliate against a county patients’ rights advocate for having exercised the county patients’ rights advocate’s rights under subdivision (a), (b), or (c) in any former employment.

(e) This section does not apply to rules, regulations, or policies that implement, or to actions by employers against county patients’ rights advocates who violate, the confidentiality of the lawyer-client privilege of Article 3 (commencing with Section 950) of, or 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.

(f) An employer, or a person acting on behalf of the employer, shall not retaliate against a county patients’ rights advocate because the county patients’ rights advocate is a family member of a person who has, or is perceived to have, engaged in any acts protected by this section.

(g) The rights and protections afforded under this section shall be enforceable by a private right of action and a violation of this section shall not result in an administrative investigation by the Department of Industrial Relations or result in administrative proceedings by that department.

(h) Nothing in this section shall be construed to interfere with protections already granted to a county patients’ rights advocate who is a government employee under Section 1102.5 of the Labor Code.

(i) As used in this section, “employer” includes the local contracting agency.

(Added by Stats. 2019, Ch. 423, Sec. 1. (AB 333) Effective January 1, 2020.)

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