So, you’ve witnessed something illegal or unethical at your job. What do you do now? Do you turn your employer in or stay silent to save your career? It’s a dilemma that thousands of Americans are faced with everyday. What do you think you should do?
It might seem like saving your career is the smart path to take. Afterall, how can you know for sure that reporting the issue will solve it? What happens if your employer retaliates and you lose your source of income? Before you make a decision, consider the following.
You Are Protected Under Federal Law
Whistleblowers have rights, just like anyone else reporting a crime. Under the Unites States Federal law, you have specific protections against adverse reactions in the workplace, including:
- Your employer cannot fire you
- You cannot be laid off for whistleblowing
- You cannot be demoted or denied a promotion
- Your employer cannot refuse to rehire you
- There can be no disciplinary actions taken against you
- Your employer cannot harass you
- · Your hours, duties, and pay cannot be reduced
If any of these were to happen to you, then your employer is in for a legal nightmare. Employment law attorneys in California fought and won a Medicare fraud case in which the employee was fired for whistleblowing. After taking the case to court, that employee was awarded over $600,000 in damages. You are always protected when doing the right thing.
How to Blow the Whistle
Usually, OSHA is the organization that handles malpractice and illegal activity in the workplace. However, there are other governing bodies that handle different injustices. OSHA deals with occupational safety and health, which remains the number one violation.
Once you file your complaint to OSHA, they begin their investigation. If your employer retaliates during this time, you are entitled to file a whistleblower discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor. Complaints to both organizations can be made in person, by letter, by telephone, or online in any language.
Don’t be surprised if your employer does decide to retaliate. A common way to suppress whistleblowers is by pressing on the immigration issue, terrifying those with green cards to frighten those without. Fear is an employer’s number one tactic, but it doesn’t have to be.
A New Orleans immigration attorney was able to protect immigrant workers during a whistleblowing case with the same set of laws mentioned above. Expect retaliation to happen but know that your employer will end up paying you compensation in the long run.
Doing the Right Thing
Deciding to blow the whistle on illegal activity at your place of work is intimidating. While you may be fraught with worry, relax. The law is on your side in this situation. You are protected from retaliation in all its forms and can fight to keep the salary as well as the position you are entitled to.
When the decision is between saving your job and doing the right thing, the answer is clear. Doing the right thing automatically saves your job while stopping illegal and unethical activity in the workplace.