In private organisations, whistle-blowers oftentimes go through hard times after reporting an illegal activity of their employer. However, going by law, it is illegal to discipline fire or treat an employee indifferently due to such acts. When an employee faces any of the aforementioned situations, they are legally entitled to sue their employer. The services of a retaliation attorney come in handy in such situations.
On average, there are three legal theories that offer protection to employees against the indifferent treatment meted out to them by an employer when they report the latter for illegal activity.
These include the following:
- Retaliation: Many federal and state laws prohibit employers from retaliating against their employees.
- Whistle-blower protection: If an employee either reports misconduct or illegal activity against their employer, the latter cannot terminate the employment of the former on these grounds.
- Public property claims: Terminating the services of an employee in violation of the Public property claims culminates into legal consequences for an employer.
Laws that prohibit retaliation
In certain situations, some fundamental laws prohibit employers from acting against workers who work under them. These include the situation when a worker files a complaint internally with any agency. Also, the same rule applies to the scenario wherein one file a legal lawsuit.
Here is a list of laws that prohibit retaliation.
- Title VII formally forbids any prejudicial or unjust treatment: All anti-discrimination laws, in some way or the other, prohibit employers from engaging in a counterattack if an employee files a complaint with either the court of law or with a governmental agency. Furthermore, there are also laws to protect those who take part in an investigation when one complains about harassment or discrimination.
- The Fair Labor Standards Act and laws linked to hours and state wage: Sometimes employers may fail to pay overtime. As a result, some employees are likely to sue their employer over their inability to pay employee wages on time. The law protects such employees from any form of retaliation by their employer.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Act and other state laws that are synonymous with it: Workplaces with hazards put employees at a risk. Some employees choose to complain about it. The law protects such complainant if they work in an organization.
- State laws corresponding to the Family and Medical Leave Act: If an employee applies for an FMLA leave or takes it in accordance with state law, then an employer cannot retaliate against it.
- The National Labour Relations Act: The rationale behind the formation of employee unions is to enable employees to take concerted effort to bring about an improvement in the working conditions. Also, they have the right to join a union of their choice. As per the law, an employer cannot dismiss or treat an employee indifferently on these grounds. The violation of this law by an employer attracts legal penalties.
If an employee files a complaint against their employer outside their organization, the laws listed above offer protection to them from all forms of retaliation from the end of an employer.
Protection for whistle-blowers
The law shields employees from their employer’s retaliation when the former complains the latter’s misconduct. Such complaints include some forms of illegal activity.
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act: This act protects an employee who reports shareholder fraud of their employer.
- The Dodd-Frank Act: This act protects a whistle-blower when they complain against the suspicious activities of rating agencies and financial firms.
- False Claims Act: This Whistle-blower Protection Act protects complainants from employers’ retaliation when they report either their contract or fraud against federal agencies.
Wrongful termination lawsuits
In the United States, numerous states have a law that allows employees to sue their employer for damages if the latter fires them wrongfully. Termination on grounds of reporting the illegal activity of an employer is+ against the law and violates the public policy. Also, the same rule applies if an employee reports their employer after refusing to commit illegal activity.
Approach the right attorney
Has your employer retaliated against you because you have reported their illegal activity or because they have asked to engage in illegal activity? There are various laws using which you can seek legal protection against such treatment. All you need to do is consult one of the qualified workplace retaliation lawyers. The retaliation prohibitory and whistleblowing laws vary from state to state. A qualified retaliation attorney will be able to guide you through the process.
Employer’s retaliation is an issue which any employee can come across at any point in time. Keeping the short statute of limitations of these cases in mind, it becomes important on the part of an employee to reach out to one of the qualified employment retaliation lawyers in time. This is the best way to get an amicable solution.