Every once in awhile, a major story breaks about a courageous whistleblower: One who comes forward with information about an employer’s wrongdoing or illegal acts.
What doesn’t make the news are stories of the many people who witness these acts but choose not to come forward. Many fear retaliation by their employer, such as job loss, potential legal action – or sheer embarrassment.
Unfortunately, many people in this situation are not aware of their legal rights and options.
Remember: The law protects whistleblowers. Employees who experience retaliation by an employer have legal rights. Let’s take a look at those rights in regard to retaliation by an employer.
An employer cannot retaliate against an employee for reporting the illegal or discriminatory acts of an employer/organization/company. Examples of retaliation may include:
- Firing the employee
- Demoting the employee
- Transferring the employee to a less-desirable job
- Laying the employee off during a company reorganization or due to downsizing (an employer may use a company reorganization as an excuse to dismiss an employee who has previously reported the company’s wrongdoing)
- Harassing the employee
- Scrutinizing the employee’s work
- Taking other adverse actions against the employee
These are illegal actions. If you suspect that your employer is retaliating against you, it is advisable to speak to an employment law attorney. It is imperative that you understand your rights and legal options. You may be entitled to compensation.