Imagine you witness your boss, your coworker or a corporate policy that it is anything but ethical and is hurting the environment. In fact, the behavior is so horrible and damaging that you find it completely unconscionable and illegal. You want to report the behavior, but you’re afraid something will happen to you as a result — that maybe you’ll lose your job or get demoted.
You might be able to receive protection from retaliation for reporting unlawful workplace behavior via state and federal whistleblower laws. Federal laws tend to be particularly clear about protections afforded to individuals who report abuses of such laws. For example, numerous federal environmental laws — like the federal Clean Air Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response law — contain protections to ensure that employees who report abuses of the laws will be protected from negative workplace consequences.
Employees will receive protection from retaliation regarding various laws when (1) the employee has a good faith belief that the law is being violated, and (2) the employee has complained to a federal agency or the employer regarding the legal violations. Under federal law, employees will receive protections even if they were wrong about their suspicions.
Do you suspect that your employer retaliated against you because you reported an environmental law abuse? You might be able to assert your legal rights in court by filing a whistleblower lawsuit via the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If successfully navigated, such a lawsuit could bring an employee much needed financial compensation for lost income and career damages resulting from the retaliation.