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What is Whistleblowing?
"Whistleblowing" is when an employee reports an employer who is breaking the law to an external law enforcement agency. Whistleblowing employees are protected by law from being fired or mistreated by their employers. If they are fired or otherwise mistreated for whistleblowing, they may file a claim against their (former) employer.
Whistleblowing can be for a variety of different reasons, including:
- Gross mismanagement of funds
- Abuse of authority
- Violating laws regarding hiring and firing
- Violating laws about workplace safety
- Violating public health laws which lead to illness and perhaps death
A whistleblowing employee may still be terminated for reasons unrelated to the whistleblowing event. For example, a whistleblowing employee who is constantly tardy or absent from work may be terminated without violating whistleblower laws (link).
How Can I Prove that I Was Mistreated for Whistleblowing?
To determine whether you were fired or mistreated for whistleblowing, you should ask yourself several questions:
- Did the information you disclosed show a violation of law and to whom and when did you disclose the information?
- After whistleblowing, did you experience negative employment actions?
- Is there evidence that the management official knew about the whistleblowing?
- Did the management officials who authorized these adverse actions know about the whistleblowing beforehand?
- Was the whistleblowing a contributing factor to the personnel action?
Is it Necessary for the Employer to Have Broken the Law?
Even if the employee is not reporting his employer for something illegal, he is protected against retaliation or termination from his company for this activity as long as he reasonably believed that he was reporting a violation of the law.
Should I Consult a Lawyer about My Whistleblowing Problem?
If you believe you may have been fired or treated differently due to whistleblowing, an experienced employment attorney can help you investigate your case and gather appropriate documents. An employment lawyer can also help you file all the necessary paperwork and represent you in court.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 11-11-2011 04:02 PM PST
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