Companies must follow the law including local, state, and federal regulations. When they fail to obey the law, they could be reported. Whistleblowers are individuals who report improper, unlawful, or dangerous activities by an employer. When a whistleblower files a claim, he or she is protected from employer retaliation. Protections start as soon as the employee files a claim or when the employer is aware of a claim.
Protections for Whistleblowers
There are a variety of statutory and common law protections for whistleblowers in Pennsylvania. The Whistleblower Law is legislation that protects whistleblowers from retaliation when they report or take part in testifying about illegal actions. Government employees are protected by the Whistleblower Law along with other laws that protect against harm after citing a violation.
The Federal False Claims Act governs whistleblowers under the qui tam provisions. The act provides protections for whistleblowers that report fraud, waste or abuse that affect the state or federal government. When a whistleblower files a report, they are immediately afforded protections under the law. The law ensures that people feel protected and able to come forward with important information about illegal activities.
Retaliation Against Whistleblowers
Unfortunately, some employers or organizations may take retaliatory actions against an employee who reports illegal activities. Some types of retaliation may include:
- Reduced hours
- Lowered wages
- Withholding a promotion
- Negative reviews or employee file notes
If someone takes negative actions against you because you made a report or participated in a report of a violation, you have rights. You are allowed to file a claim to resolve the matter. It is important to note that retaliation protections only apply to those who file whistleblower claims in good faith. You cannot file a false report and then expect to get protection.
What to do About Retaliation
There are some things you can and should do to resolve a retaliatory situation. Identify the actions that were taken against you and document the dates and times of the incidents. This will be important to prove that the actions occurred as a result of the whistleblower actions. Unfortunately, an employer may feel that if he or she terminates you, the problem will go away and you will suffer economically.
This type of activity is not to be taken lightly. Retaliation laws are in place in order to help employees report problems without fear of losing their jobs. You should report the retaliation immediately to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC, and speak to an employment attorney. Your lawyer will evaluate the situation and gather documentation that will prove your case. Different laws may apply to different situations. You are not alone in facing your employer. Your attorney will guide the process and bring your employer to justice.
Whistleblowers are trying to do the right thing by reporting illegal activity. Instead, they may be facing retaliation from their employers and might even lose their jobs. If you suffered from retaliation after filing a whistleblower claim, you need the help of the respected lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP. Contact us today to discuss your case.