Whistleblowing, or the act of disclosing illegal or unethical activity by an organization to people outside of the organization, is often a difficult decision for employees. However, there are laws that provide protection for those who choose to expose wrongdoing.
What protections do these acts provide, and what can employees do if their employer retaliates?
Society relies on whistleblowers
Whistleblowers play a vital role in protecting the public from fraud and misconduct. There are several laws at the federal and state levels that protect government employees and employees in the private sector. These laws encourage people to come forward with information about wrongdoing, such as fraud, waste, or abuse, and it helps to hold organizations accountable for their actions.
In recent years, the act has been used to expose a range of misconduct, from environmental crimes to financial fraud. Furthermore, under whistleblower protection laws, employees are protected from their employers taking retaliatory action.
Retaliation against whistleblowers is illegal and can take many forms, such as termination, demotion, transfer, reduction in hours or pay, or denial of bonuses or promotions. You should document the situation if you have been the victim of retaliation. This includes keeping records of any demotions, pay cuts, or negative performance reviews. Then, file a complaint with your company’s HR department.
In some cases, it may be possible to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or a state fair employment practices agency. You may also be able to file a lawsuit against your employer. Speaking with someone about employment law can help you understand your rights and options.