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How do you prove you were retaliated against?

If you blow the whistle on your company for any type of wrongdoing, you don't expect this to negatively impact your employment status. After all, it is against the law for an employer to retaliate against you. Even so, this doesn't stop some employers from taking such action.

Proving that you were retaliated against requires the following:

-- Your involvement in a protected activity.

-- That the employer believed you were involved or knows that you took part in a protected activity.

-- That you were retaliated against, such as with a poor performance review or demotion or being terminated.

-- That the protected activity led to the adverse action.

The buzzword here is "protected activity." This differs from one law to the next in regards to employee protection, so it is important to know where you stand. For example, an actual complaint to an agency is the only thing that is protected.

If you want to learn more about federal laws, review the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This outlines the activity for which employees are protected.

When you come across wrongdoing at your place of employment, it is not always simple to decide what to do next. On one side, you want to do the right thing by speaking up. However, you are concerned that this could lead to adverse action, such as losing your job.

As a whistleblower, you need to understand your rights as outlined in both state and federal laws. It is likely that you have some type of protection that allows you to speak your mind without being retaliated against.

Source: Workplace Fairness, "General Information About Whistleblowing and Retaliation," accessed July 27, 2015

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