Evansville Employment Lawyer Gives a General Overview of Retaliation Claims
In the employment context, a whistleblower is an employee who informs the government, public, or other authorities of his or her employer’s allegedly dishonest or illegal activities. Sometimes, these allegations involve violations of federal or state laws or regulations. An “internal” whistleblower discloses this improper activity or behavior to the management, co-workers, superiors, or other people within the company. An “external” whistleblower reveals this information to the government, or other people or entities outside the company.
Whistleblowers are often placed in a precarious position because, if found out, their employers retaliate against them in the form of workplace discrimination, demotion, discipline, denial of benefits, blacklisting, harassment, or termination. Employers will frequently discharge whistleblower employees under the guise of properly acting within the bounds of at-will employment.
However, both federal and state laws protect whistleblowers from improper retaliation. Some federal laws include the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 (which protects federal employees); Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) (which applies to private employees who report on workplace safety violations or health hazards); and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (which protects corporate employees who report violations of federal securities laws).
While a broad range of whistleblower activities are protected by state and federal laws, the three main ones are:
- Disclosing alleged misconduct or illegal activity;
- Beginning, or causing the initiation of, proceedings under state or federal statutes or regulations; and
- Testifying, assisting, or participating in such proceedings.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is in charge of enforcing 21 federal whistleblower protection statutes. If you feel that you’ve been improperly discriminated or otherwise retaliated against because you revealed health or safety violations, you can file a complaint with OSHA with the help of your Evansville employment lawyer. The Department of Labor (DOL) enforces other anti-retaliation laws. In addition, federal agencies such as the Wage and Hour Division and the Employee Benefits Security Administration handle certain types of whistleblower claims.
Retaliation Claims Attorney
If you’ve been a victim of retaliation because you disclosed improper or illegal activity in your workplace, dedicated and experienced Evansville employment lawyer Lane Siesky may be able to help you. For a free initial consultation, simply fill out the form on this page.