Everyone wants to believe their place of employment follows standard safety practices, regulations, and laws. HR ensures departments are compliant and the Finance department estimates and reports the correct numbers. However, when someone finds out that illegal behavior is happening at work and they believe the right thing to do is report it, they might not expect that reporting it could land them in a difficult situation at work. If you believe that your employer is retaliating against you in any way because of blowing the whistle, contact a lawyer. .
What Is Whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing happens when an employee sees some type of illegal activity (unrelated to workplace rights) going on at work and they choose to report it. This is different from gossiping about potential wrongdoings to other coworkers at the water cooler or starting a rumor without the intention of having your employer or outside parties take action against the wrongdoers. Examples of whistleblowing include:
- Producing or manufacturing dangerous products
- Participating in shareholder fraud
- Lying on the company’s tax returns
What Is Retaliation?
Retaliation in the workplace happens when your employer retaliates against you or “punishes” you for exercising your right to report certain illegal acts that you see at the workplace. While there are laws in place to protect people who report workplace violations, the places that enforce these laws—usually government agencies—do not typically make audits or check-ins to see how a company is doing. Thus, they rely heavily on employees to bravely report these violations. To encourage employees to report illegal activities, there are laws in place to protect employees from being retaliated against.
Common Forms of Retaliation
There are many ways your employer can retaliate against you, and a lawyer can work with you to determine if your employer has indeed retaliated against you. Common forms of retaliation are:
- Being demoted
- Being forced to take bad shifts
- Firing you
- Overlooking you for promotion opportunities
- Employer and co-worker harassment or ostracizing
Retaliation comes in many forms, and an employee who chose to step forward and report misconduct or illegal activity should not worry about their employer punishing them for doing so. When this happens, one way a lawyer can help is by filing a retaliation complaint. In some cases, you may first need to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. On the other hand, if you want to sue for a wrongful termination, we would go to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to file a complaint.