What To Do If You Are Wrongfully Terminated After Whistleblowing
If you reported illegal behavior at work and your employer fired you, you need to know your legal rights. In this case, you may be able to make a wrongful termination claim against your employer for retaliating after you blew the whistle. There are many laws in place that protect the rights of the whistleblower, including the right to maintain their employment. For more information on whistleblowing, the whistleblower’s rights, and retaliation keep reading.
What Is Whistleblowing?
A whistleblower is an employee who reports illegal acts at work that are not directly involved with workplace rights. This can come in many forms. An example is if your company is committing tax fraud. When you report this to a higher authority, your company will consider this whistleblowing. There are federal laws in place to protect an employee who blows that whistle on specific types of illegal activity in the workplace, and there are state laws that offer more specific rights to whistleblowers.
What Is Retaliation?
Retaliation happens when your employer punishes you after legally blowing the whistle. One of the most common ways that employers retaliate against employees is by firing them. There are many laws in place to help protect the rights of workers when they have blown the whistle. Some common examples of laws are:
- Health and Safety Laws. Your employer cannot fire you for reporting health or safety violations within your company.
- Wage and Hour Laws. If your employer fails to abide by wage and hours laws, they cannot fire you for complaining to someone within the company or outside the company about issues like a failure to pay minimum wages or if the employer illegally keeps part of your tips.
- Harassment or Discrimination Laws. Your employer cannot fire you for making a complaint regarding being harassed or discriminated against.
- Workers’ Compensation Laws. In most states, your employer cannot fire you if you have filed a workers’ compensation claim after a workplace injury or if you were made ill on the job.
What Steps Should I Take If I Was Fired After Whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing is just one example of exercising your legal rights. If your employer fired you for doing so, it is possible to sue for wrongful termination. When you make this type of claim, one of the best assets you can have is to receive help from an attorney. Whistleblowing itself can become complicated legally very quickly. If you experience retaliation, it can get even more complicated. When meeting with an attorney, be sure to have a timeline of the events prepared to show what happened before, during, and after you blew the whistle. This can help to establish that there was indeed retaliation for your whistleblowing.
Where Can I Get Legal Help?
If your employer has retaliated against you for expressing your legal right to blow the whistle, having an employment discrimination lawyer on your side can help establish the necessary timeline of events and show that you were wrongfully terminated.