Most employees want to go to work, do their job duties safely and go home at the end of the day. Most workers don’t go into work hoping that they see something that will get their employer in to trouble. However, workers should know that if they do see something illegal going on in the workplace, they have specific protections.
People who speak out regarding illegal activities going on within a company are known as whistleblowers. These individuals have specific protections, including ones against termination or retaliation based on the fact that they spoke up. The key here is that the complaints the person has must be based on fact.
Federal and state laws address whistleblower activity
Many of the specific protections workers have are based within the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). New York also offers whistleblower protections for these individuals.
Federal employees have the Whistleblower Protection Act and Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act to protect them. The Taxpayer First Act covers whistleblowers who speak out about matters related to taxes.
It’s important to note that these protections only apply if the actions by the employer are due to the whistleblowing. Employers can still terminate, demote or discipline workers if they’re directly related to poor performance or other similar matters.
If you’ve been subjected to any negative employment action, including unfavorable reviews, termination or anything similar, after you’ve reported an illegal activity, you might have a whistleblower claim. It’s imperative that you learn about your legal options right away. Consulting an experienced attorney can be a good idea.