As a Whistleblower, Am I Protected?

Employees may not come forward to report something unlawful that their employer has done, out of fear of retaliation or being fired. An employee may think that if the company is willing to knowingly break a law, they may have no problem wrongfully terminating an employee who filed a complaint. In some instances, an employee coming forward is necessary for the health and safety of all who work for the company. Any employee who informs another entity about the illicit activity of a person or organization is called a whistleblower. 

Sadly, some employers may become vengeful and fire whistleblowers for reporting the company or individual. It is important for a worker to know they have rights which can protect them from becoming the victim of employer retaliation, though. 

How are whistleblowers protected?

The majority of states and the federal government have established laws which protect whistleblowers from employer punishment for bringing the incident to light. The purpose of these protection laws is to enable employees to testify, report, or stop an employer that is committing unhealthy, illegal, or other negative actions that violate public policies. 

Are all whistleblower actions covered under state and federal laws?

A commonly debated topic within whistleblower protection laws is what constitutes as a whistleblower activity. Those who have experienced employer retaliation for whistleblowing may want to meet with an attorney as soon as possible to see if you are safeguarded under your state laws. Each state may be different in how they define whistleblower actions. 

Can an employee receive compensation for the retaliation or wrongful termination?

An employee who was a whistleblower and then was wrongfully terminated or retaliated against may have a strong foundation for a lawsuit. Factors of the lawsuit may include statute of limitations, types of recoverable damages, and evidence. An employee may be entitled to financial compensation for employer revenge. 

What are the basic elements of a whistleblower lawsuit? 

An employee who has been impacted by employer retaliation after making a report can meet with an attorney for advice on how to proceed. If the employee decides to take legal action, there are basic components of a whistleblower protection claim. Examples of these factors include, but may not be limited to the following: 

  • The employee participated in or initiated a protected whistleblower activity
  • The employer was aware the employee engaged in such actions
  • The employer was motivated to retaliate, at least in part, by the employee’s whistleblower activity
  • The employee was let go or discriminated against by the employer, in regards to his or her employment conditions, privileges, compensation, or terms
  • The employee can bring forward evidence that he or she would not have suffered such treatment from the employer if the whistleblower conduct did not occur 

Why should an employee seek help from an attorney? 

An attorney can consult with an employee and help him or her complete the necessary paperwork for a lawsuit, in addition to offering representation. It is recommended that any worker who feels they were retaliated against because of whistleblowing reaches out to a lawyer, like a whistleblower retaliation claim lawyer in Washington, DC from Eric Siegel Law, right away for guidance.