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.