Find a Lawyer by Practice
Find a Lawyer by Location
Back to Main Categories
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Jason T. Brown with Brown, LLC.
It is always important for employees to know that they can report and seek help regarding misconduct or illegal activities that happen in their workplace. This is called whistleblowing, and employees often report these kinds of actions to protect themselves and other employees from their employers’ negative or damaging behavior. Unfortunately, some companies choose to retaliate against employees who expose their actions—and this retaliation could mean anything from wrongfully firing the employee, demoting them, harassing them, or making them feel unsafe.
As the idea of whistleblowing became more commonly known among the public, many employees called for protection against retaliation. Consequently, in 1989, the Whistleblower Protection Act was passed. The purpose of the Whistleblower Protection Act was to shield employees from potential acts of retaliation against their employers. In this way, the whistleblowers could safely expose their employers’ actions while knowing that they wouldn’t be fired, demoted, or experience otherwise negative consequences as a result.
The Whistleblower Protection Act also provides cover for employees in that it gives them an outlet to report illegal behavior. The Security and Exchange Commission’s Whistleblower Program actively uses information provided by whistleblowers to investigate and potentially punish employers who behave illegally and unethically. Whistleblowers can receive commendation from the SEC if their reports lead to accurate information, and the SEC will often impose penalties on employers and organizations that have engaged in improper behavior.
Many states have their own rules and regulations when it comes to whistleblowing. They may seek different or new information than the federal government if they think it will help them pursue a case. They may ask whistleblowers if they can speak to other people at their organization, or to someone who allegedly had a hand in the misconduct. These actions and more can help them compile and complete and accurate case.
The downside for some whistleblowers is that it can take time for a state or federal investigator to decide that there is merit to the whistleblower’s claims. If an employer retaliates against the whistleblower before the investigation is finalized, the employee may find themselves stuck.
This is why all whistleblowers should contact an attorney if they are retaliated against. An attorney who is experienced with whistleblower cases and knows the Whistleblower Protection Act will be able to help you file a lawsuit and arrange for items such as lost wages and compensation for distress. These lawyers understand how to get to the heart of the story and tell others why a whistleblower acted or spoke in a certain way, and why they elt the need to whistleblow in the first place. They will help you create a legal strategy that sheds light on your motivations, your employers, and potential actions for all.
Whistleblowing is a situation consuming both the employee and the employer. If an employee wishes to point out unfair treatment, actions, or anything else, the laws in place will help him or her do so efficiently.
has been sent!