Whistleblowers have reached prominence in modern society as public protectors. Whistleblowers often take personal risks to protect the public from fraud and misconduct by businesses and even governments that would otherwise go unchecked. This admirable role, however, is not without consequence. Many people who “blow the whistle” on their employer do so at the very real risk of losing their jobs. Sometimes, it is more than just a job, it is a decades-long career that they put on the line to make sure that the misconduct they observe is identified and stopped.
If you have blown the whistle on your employer, and you feel as if you have suffered workplace retaliation or even termination, consider calling a qualified whistleblowing attorney who also has significant experience in employment law to help you consider your options. In the meantime, here are a few frequently asked questions to get you started:
- How do I know if I have faced workplace retaliation? Workplace retaliation after whistleblowing can take many forms. The most obvious form is the termination of employment or demotion that has nothing to do with your job performance. Less obvious forms of retaliation may include the creation of a hostile work environment or a change in job duties that makes your job more difficult, less desirable, or have less room for upward mobility. It can be difficult to prove workplace retaliation, so it is important that if you think you have been the victim of retaliation after whistleblowing, make sure to keep excellent records of your workplace interactions, job performance, and any correspondence you have with human resources or management regarding changes in your job requirements.
- What kind of protection do I have? Both state and federal laws offer whistleblower protection. The purpose of these laws is to encourage employees to report the misconduct of their employer that otherwise may go unchecked. The law that applies to your retaliation claim is dependent on the type of whistleblower report that you have made. Not all laws offer the same degree of protection from retaliation, so it is important to consult with a whistleblower attorney familiar with the law that applies to your claim who will be able to advise you regarding your rights.
- What should I do if I have been retaliated against? If you are certain that you have been fired or otherwise retaliated against due to a whistleblowing report, you should consult with a qualified and experienced attorney as soon as possible. Make sure that you preserve any evidence surrounding the circumstances of your termination or other retaliation and share it with your attorney. The sooner you consult with an attorney and file an employment discrimination claim related to the whistleblowing, the sooner you will have a resolution to your difficult situation and the more likely you are to be successful in your claim.
Whistleblowing and workplace retaliation is a somewhat common combination, but there is something you can do. Know your rights and consult with a qualified whistleblower attorney, like a whistleblower lawyer in Richlands, Virginia, to make sure you take advantage of the protections in place for whistleblowers.
Thank you to the experts at the Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into whistleblower law.