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What All Employees Need to Know About Whistleblowing

In order for employees to be treated fairly while also providing a way for employees to report offenses by an employer, laws have been put into place to provide protection from whistleblowing retaliation. The following are some things to think about when it comes to whistleblowing:

How Do Laws Protect Employees From Employer Retaliation?

When an employee reports egregious behavior by an employer, he or she is considered a whistleblower. Employers can retaliate against employees if they find out who got them into trouble. Fortunately, there are federal laws governed by the US Department of Labor that protect whistleblowers. Depending on a case, more than one whistleblower protection can be used. It will also depend on the employer and the state. Along with federal protection, there are also damages and civil torts that can also assist with damages that can happen due to a whistleblower case.

The goal of whistleblower protection laws is to allow employees to report or testify about unethical, illegal, or unhealthy actions by an employer. There can be confusion as to what defines a whistleblower activity as well as the law that protects the whistleblower. In some states, the definition of the activity can be either narrow or broad based on the nature of the employer activity. Those who make a whistleblowing claim need to work with a lawyer to make sure the laws are there in his or her state before moving forward.

What About Statute of Limitations?

There is statute of limitations in whistleblowing cases. One major setback in these cases is that the statute of limitations is short. It is very common in defense strategy in whistleblower cases, as the statute typically begins from the point at which the employee realizes he or she will be a target of retaliation rather than the last day of employment. State law varies for wrongful termination cases, so it is crucial that employees understand when the statute of limitations is for his or her case.

How Can Employee Prove Retaliation?

There are different categories that retaliation can fall into. A hostile attitude from the employer due to the action of the employee is one category. Others include disparate treatment of the employee before whistleblowing action is taken by said employee, poor treatment by an employer when he or she was satisfied with their work before the whistleblowing, the type of procedure used and the timing of termination, and threats against other employees for similar actions.

If your employer is retaliating against you after you've reported their poor behavior, check out and talk to a lawyer who specializes in whistleblowing cases.