State and federal whistleblower laws protect employees from retaliation for reporting or opposing wrongful, illegal, or unsafe workplace practices. These laws prohibit employers from firing, demoting, threatening, harassing, denying a promotion to, or reducing the pay of an employee who engages in activity protected. In doing so, they give whistleblowers vital workplace protections and encourage employees to speak out against unlawful or unsafe workplace practices, hold employers accountable under the law, and stop wrongful practices from continuing.
Numerous states and the federal government have enacted a web of whistleblower protections in a variety of areas that protect employees from retaliation for blowing the whistle on wrongful corporate or government conduct. These laws are intended to safeguard employees who complain about, report, or oppose activity related to:
– Violations of state or federal laws or regulations;
– Gross mismanagement, waste of funds, or abuse of authority in the government;
– Health care fraud, including Medicare and pharmaceuticals;
– Fraud or mismanagement of funds in federal contracts, including defense contracts;
– Corporate and accounting fraud;
– Occupational safety and health;
– Nuclear safety;
– Environmental issues, including clean air, chemicals, water pollution, drinking water, solid waste, and toxic substances; or
– Transportation, such as trucking, aviation, railroads, or public transit.
“Correia & Puth’s whistleblower lawyers believe employees should be free from intimidation, harassment, or threats to their livelihood when they take a stand against wrongful or unsafe workplace conduct or actions. No employee should penalized for helping to make their employer follow the law or because they refused to engage in fraud or allow unsafe workplace conditions.”
In some cases, federal agencies may pay significant monetary awards to people who provide them with information that assists them in enforcing the law. These agencies include the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These reward and bounty programs now serve as an important mechanism for enforcing existing laws against corporate or government fraud, waste or abuse, as well as tax evasion.
The array of federal and state whistleblower laws is complex because there is no single “whistleblower law.” Instead, different laws protect different types of whistleblower-related activities, the laws contain different filing deadlines, and they require varying filing procedures. Several whistleblower laws require employees to file whistleblower retaliation claims with government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Labor or the Office of Special Counsel, while others may allow employees to file their case in court. Whatever the issue, employees should act quickly to ensure their rights are protected, – for example, some statutes require employees to file a charge no later than 30 days after their employer retaliates against them.
The whistleblower lawyers at Correia & Puth, PLLC are committed to ensuring that employees are protected when they take a stand for workplace safety, speak up about their employer’s unlawful behavior, and hold employers accountable for wrongdoing. Correia & Puth vigorously advocates on behalf of workplace whistleblowers. If you are aware of wrongful workplace conduct, or if you fear or have experienced workplace retaliation because of your reports, please contact us right away.