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Whistleblower protections and retaliation

By virtue of the Dodd-Frank Act, employers cannot retaliate against people classified as "whistleblowers." In other words, if you made statements about the wrongful actions that are happening in your workplace, you might qualify for protection under federal law. This protection would serve to prevent you from losing your job and/or suffering other adverse actions as a result of your divulgence of information about legal violations or immoral conduct committed by and/or sanctioned by your employer.

An employee with whistleblower status may even have the right to ignore any confidentiality agreement that applies to his or her employment in the name of reporting the abuses of his or her employer. Federal whistleblower protections protect employees from employers who attempt to enforce a confidentiality agreement or arbitration clause in an employment contract.

Here are a few of the actions that whistleblowers are protected against:

  • Demotions
  • Discharges
  • Suspensions
  • Threats
  • Direct and indirect harassment

Employees may face such adverse treatment in the event that they report to authorities unlawful activities like environmental protection law violations, money laundering, fraud, tax evasion and other offenses.

If you are a whistleblower and have suffered any kind of adverse or unfair retaliation from your employer as a result of exercising your legal right to report information, you may be able to file a federal lawsuit for damages. Every whistleblower case is different, however, and you are advised to discuss your situation with an attorney as soon as possible. Preferably, explore your legal rights and options with a qualified legal counselor before you actually become a whistleblower.

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