On January 27, 2022, the California Supreme Court provided clarification in Lawson v. PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc. to lower California courts reviewing whistleblower retaliation claims. In what it calls an “unsurprising” decision, the California Supreme Court concluded that the framework prescribed by California Labor Code section 1102.6, rather than the McDonnell Douglas test, must be used in whistleblower claim evaluations. The impact of this decision is that employees will have a lower burden to meet to demonstrate that their alleged whistleblower activities resulted in an adverse employment action, while employers will have to meet a higher burden requiring them to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that they did not retaliate based on the employee’s activities.

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