Am I Protected as a Whistleblower if Employer’s Criminal Activities Are Not Reported until after I Was Fired?


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Before blowing the whistle on a supervisor or manager, it is important to ensure the employee is protected from the action. Even if the person was fired for an unrelated matter, it is imperative that the rights of the worker are protected from retaliation and adverse consequences.

Retaliation is one of the worst threats against employees that witness or observe dangers to public safety, health matters and illegal activities that transpire in the workplace. The fear about losing a job or benefits may be the driving force that keeps many of these persons quiet in light of criminal or possible hazardous behavior. However, there are laws that protect the employee from retaliation so that better and safer work conditions may be achieved. It is best to contact an expert and possibly a lawyer to ensure there may be safety while still at the same job as the person performing the actions.

Whistleblowers are persons that contact someone else such as an authority when a crime of some sort has been witnessed. These individuals are often scared of being fired, having difficulties at work and similar hazards. Because of this, many of these persons may work in secret or attempt to hide what they are doing. Even if the laws protect these individuals, those at the jobsite may retaliate in other ways such as isolating the person, bullying and other problems. This makes the job of eliminating the threat on the property more difficult. Some are recruited by agencies and others contact authorities after being fired or leaving the company.

Protection from Retaliation

When discrimination laws are violated, retaliation is illegal for companies to engage in with employees. If the worker has contacted an agency due to contaminants being applied to local wildlife, with illegal activity that affects public safety, fraud abuse of power and various other issues that could harm others, these persons are blowing the whistle on management or the owner of a business. Retaliation against these persons is prohibited in most circumstances so that these persons may ensure they are safe after they’ve given the information necessary to cease the problem. This is similar to those affected by discrimination and reports where the person may be compensated through the EEOC.

Retaliation often occurs when the employee has been harmed through loss of work, benefits, demotion or similar circumstances after contacting someone about the owner or other management participating in illegal activity. When the person has been fired already, he or she may not be affected by these situations unless it is to keep other employers from hiring him or her. The laws may protect the person in these events due to it being similar to workplace retaliation. It is important to contact legal counsel to determine if any other measures need to be taken after engaging in whistleblowing.

Anti-Retaliation

There are a variety of crimes that owners of businesses and management may engage in that affect public safety and consumers. These could range from fraud to environmental law violations to smuggling drugs. When officials are contacted about the potential crimes, it is important to ensure that retaliation is not going occur for the employee. Anti-retaliation measures are in place per the laws in the United States, and management, supervisors and the owner are prohibited from taking retaliatory action against employees when they participate in whistleblowing activity. These laws are incentive to ensure information is received and corrupt managers and other workers are routed out and charged with the crimes they commit.

Legal Implications

It is important that the employee is not engaging in the illegal activity, but he or she may accomplish a deal for immunity if he or she blows the whistle on others that have engaged in worse crimes. This may require becoming part of the operation or monitoring those that are committing illegal acts. Before the person becomes a mole, it is important to get any deals in writing with a lawyer present to ensure the document is enforceable in a court room. This is necessary to prevent complications from arising.

Even if the person has been fired from a company already, it may be necessary to contact legal counsel to determine if he or she is suffering from retaliation from the business. This could arise through a lack of work or in not getting jobs the person is qualified for. Legal representation should be contacted for assistance in these matters.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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