When you witness unlawful practices in the workplace or notice unlawful policies that are in place at your company, you might deem it appropriate to report the situation to the relevant governmental agency. When your intention is to uphold the law and protect yourself and your coworkers from potential harm or exploitation, you have the complete right to do this. These types of reports, as well as many other actions, are known as whistleblower actions.
As a whistleblower who has reported unlawful working practices, you have certain protections for a period of time after you make the report. This is because employers can resent whistleblowers and may retaliate against them. Therefore, it is unlawful to retaliate against whistleblowers for the complaint or report that they made. If you believe that you have been the victim of retaliatory treatment as a workplace whistleblower, it is important that you understand your rights.
Documentation is vital
As a whistleblower who has already experienced retaliation, you may realize that your word will not be sufficient proof. That's why you need to document any and all interactions you have with coworkers, supervisors and others that are related to your whistleblowing actions.
What are my legal protections as a whistleblower?
If you made your complaint to an external agency, you will be protected by anti-discrimination laws. Title VII and other laws state that retaliation cannot be made toward an employee on the grounds of the employee making a complaint about the company or within the company.
In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) states that any employee who reports a safety-related issue to external or internal sources are protected from retaliation. This is to make sure that no employee is discouraged from reporting any safety-related concerns for fear of retaliation.
What can I do if I have experienced whistleblower retaliation?
Whistleblower protection laws have made it possible for victims of retaliation to come forward and take legal action. If employees were fired from their jobs after they made complaints, for example, they may be reinstated or receive damages for their terminations if they prevail in their legal claims. If you were a victim of workplace retaliation, it is important that you take action to stand up for your rights.