Retaliation and Whistleblowing
Workplace retaliation is the illegal practice of punishing employees because
they engaged in a legally protected activity. Retaliation often occurs
against employees who have reported something that was happening within
the company that they thought was against the law or because they have
refused to participate in illegal activity. Workplace retaliation is illegal
only when an employer punishes an employee for legally protected activity.
Not all reports of employer wrongdoing are legally protected.
Many employees who report employer wrongdoing think of themselves as "whistleblowers."
That may or may not be true legally in a particular case. Federal, state,
and local laws have specific requirements about when reporting suspected
illegal employer activity counts as "whistleblowing." Whistleblower
laws provided broad protections to employees when they apply, but there
are other laws against workplace retaliation that protect workers who
don't qualify as "whistleblowers."
Workplace retaliation can take the form of termination, demotion, reduced
hours, denial of benefits, decreased pay, or negative performance reviews,
just to name a few examples. In some cases, a hostile work environment
can be a form of illegal retaliation. Accusing your employer of illegal
activity can be a very stressful experience. Employees who call out employer
misconduct are often severely mistreated by their employers and co-workers.
There are many different federal, state, local laws that cover whistleblowing
and workplace retaliation. Some apply only to employees in specific industries.
Many require the employee to file a charge or complaint within a very
short period of time. It is important for employees who believe that they
have been the victims of whistleblower or other workplace retaliation
to contact an attorney right away.
Frank Freed Subit & Thomas has assisted many employees who have filed
whistleblower or retaliation allegations with local, state, and federal
authorities. We have significant experience representing nuclear whistleblowers.
We are here to advise employees throughout the investigation process and
represent them in administrative hearings or in court. We know how important
it is to have someone in your corner when you're trying to make your
employer do the right thing.