What Protections Do Whistleblowers Have in the Workplace?

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Whistleblowers are protected. If you report your company for doing something illegal, your employer should not just be able to turn around and fire you. If you are thinking about making a report or you feel as if your employer has retaliated against you for your past actions, then you may need to speak to a Chesterfield County whistleblower protection attorney.

What Do Whistleblowers Do Exactly?

Whistleblowers are employees who make some kind of complaint when they believe that something illegal is happening at their workplace. These are people who make complaints to their supervisors or federal regulators like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA, or the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. Whistleblowers could report all types of violations of all types of laws, including ones relating to:

  • Overtime wages
  • Environmental protection
  • Employee safety
  • Consumer product and food safety
  • Health insurance

If your company is doing something wrong and you report it to the authorities, you may be a whistleblower.

How Are Whistleblowers Protected By the Federal Government?

Government regulations at both the federal and state levels protect Virginia workers who make any kind of reports about their employers. If someone who makes a report or participates in an investigation is punished later, they can probably make the case that they were retaliated against.

Whistleblowers could end up facing punishments like demotions, termination, or pay reductions. They could even be blacklisted in their industry. This is not acceptable. Any of these actions are retaliation and they need to be dealt with appropriately.

What Happens if a Company Goes After a Whistleblower?

A company that violates whistleblower protections can be sued. You can pursue damages and hold your employer accountable for their actions. We recommend keeping copies of all correspondence with your employer and using it as evidence if needed. For example, if you are a whistleblower and you end up getting fired, your boss might claim that it was due to poor performance. If you can pull up recent emails that say what a good job you’re doing, then that can make it clear that your firing was actually retaliation.

Do I Need an Employment Lawyer?

Having an employment lawyer can be helpful. An attorney can help you make the initial complaint to the government. This can potentially help the complaint be more “complete” and that could encourage regulators to make investigating your employer a top priority.

An employment lawyer can also help you out if your employer violates federal and state laws after you make your report. If your employer retaliates against you, then your lawyer can help you fight back. You are exercising your rights. Your employer cannot come after you for that, and your lawyer will do everything that he can to ensure that your employer learns that lesson.

Schedule a Consultation Today

If you want to learn more about protections for whistleblowers, contact Passero Employment Law. Schedule an appointment with our experienced employment lawyer who can answer any questions that you have and advise you on the best path forward.


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