When someone reports the illegal behavior of a business, that person is known as a whistleblower. Whistleblowers should not face discrimination or adverse action on the part of their employer for reporting the following:
- Discrimination in the workplace
- Labor law violations
- Corruption and fraud
- Health and safety violations
- Environmental waste
Complaints about these matters are considered protected activity under Indiana law, and it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for calling attention to the issue.
What Is Whistleblower Retaliation?
If an employer takes adverse action against an employee after that employee reports illegal activity or safety concerns, that is known as whistleblower retaliation. The following actions may be considered whistleblower retaliation if they take place shortly after the whistleblower’s report of wrongdoing:
- Denying a promotion
- Denying benefits
- Denying overtime
- Failing to hire
- Pay cuts or reduction of hours
- Intimidation or harassment
- Other disciplinary actions
If an employee believes they have faced discrimination as a result of their protected activity, they may file a complaint with the Indiana Department of Labor within 30 days of the offense. The employee is required to show that their behavior was a protected activity that led to adverse action from their employer.
Which Laws Protect Whistleblowers in Indiana?
Whistleblower protections are covered by two Indiana state laws in addition to federal laws in the United States. Indiana whistleblowers may be protected by the following laws governing whistleblower cases in the state:
- The Indiana False Claims and Whistleblower Protection Act: Prohibits employers from retaliating against whistleblowers; contains qui tam provisions that allow individuals to file a lawsuit against employers for committing fraud
- Indiana Medicaid False Claims and Whistleblower Protection Act: Protects employees from retaliation specifically when making claims of healthcare fraud with regards to Indiana Medicaid
- Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989: Specifically protects federal employees who report illegal behavior, corruption, or waste on behalf of the government from facing adverse actions
- Indiana Code 22-5-3-3: Protects Indiana employees from retaliation based on filing a complaint, testifying, or assisting with an investigation against an employer in the state of Indiana
Is Exposing Whistleblowing Illegal?
Employment law prevents employers from retaliating against whistleblowers, but the law does not specify that revealing the identity of a whistleblower is illegal. Only the inspector general’s office is required to protect the identity of a whistleblower.
Whistleblower Attorney in Indianapolis
If your employer has discriminated against you after you exposed illegal or unethical activity in your company, you’ve probably experienced employment retaliation and may be eligible for monetary compensation for your suffering. Since the Indiana Department of Labor requires you to file whistleblower claims within 30 days of the alleged offense, you’ll want to seek legal advice from a law firm right away if you believe your rights have been violated.
The whistleblower lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP have the knowledge and experience to help with any legal issues related to whistleblowing and other employment law practice areas. Visit our law office in Indianapolis for a consultation today.