Most people value honesty and aspire to it in their own behavior, and yet almost everyone lies more frequently than they would like to admit. You might give false excuses about why you cannot attend a party to which you were invited, rather than answering truthfully and saying that attending the party sounds like more trouble than it is worth and you would rather spend your day off from work sitting on your couch and watching YouTube. Perhaps you lie to your children and say that the water park is closed because you do not want to tell them that you cannot afford the price of admission.
Most of the lies we tell are to protect other people, and most of them are simply a matter of saying nothing instead of telling the truth. We do not tell our cousin that his girlfriend made a bad first impression on us because we know that it is only fair that we give her more than one chance to show us what kind of person she really is. We give vague answers when people we know ask us about subjects that our friends and family members discussed with us in confidence.
The gentlemen of Baghdad in the ninth century, sometimes considered to be the Golden Age of Arabic-Islamic civilization, used to say that a true friend conceals the faults of his friend. Concealing the faults of a friend is one thing, but concealing wrongdoing by your employer is another matter. Your employer cannot buy your silence and should not try. Reporting misconduct by your employer takes more than a modest amount of courage, but it is your right and your responsibility to do it. The San Francisco whistleblower claims lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP can help you protect yourself against employer retaliation if you report misconduct at your workplace.
Why Speak Up About Employer Misconduct Instead of Staying Silent?
Employers do unfair and unethical things quite frequently, and most of the time, employees stay silent about it in the interest of minding their own business or because they do not want to risk losing their jobs. Even though staying silent when you witness wrongdoing in your workplace, these are some compelling reasons to speak up:
- If you witness unsafe conditions at your workplace, you should say something before an employee or customer gets injured.
- If you are experiencing discrimination or unfair treatment, or if you see leaders in your organization treating your coworkers unfairly, you should say something. Your statements can corroborate those of your coworkers in the event that any of you engage in legal action against your employer.
- If you witness illegal activities such as money laundering or embezzlement at your workplace, you should say something, and if the police question you about it, you should tell the truth, or else plead the Fifth Amendment if you think that you would be in danger of getting your own criminal charges if you answered truthfully. If you do not, then you could face criminal charges for conspiracy to commit financial crimes or for obstruction of justice.
It is easy to understand why it is best to speak up in the name of justice instead of staying silent. Actually doing it is not so simple. The fear that your employer will fire you or do everything possible to make it unbearable for you to continue working at your job is a reasonable one. A San Francisco whistleblower claims lawyer can guide you through the process, even if you are naturally averse to confrontation.
Whistleblower Claims are a Legally Protected Activity in San Francisco
Employer retaliation is when an employer takes an adverse action against an employee for engaging in a protected activity. An adverse action is something that would be a reasonable response to the employee’s misconduct or poor performance at work. Adverse actions include placing the employee on probation or subjecting the employee to excessive scrutiny, negative performance reviews, reduction of hours or pay, and termination of employment. Even though employers should only do these things when an employee does something wrong, they sometimes take adverse actions in response to employees doing things that they have a legal or ethical responsibility to do. Activities that could negatively affect the employer, but yet the law upholds the employee’s right to do them, are called legally protected activities. Taking family leave, requesting disability accommodations, and filing a workers’ compensation claim are protected activities. Another category of protected activities is whistleblower actions.
A whistleblower action is when an employee complains about an employer’s misconduct or violation of policies to the governmental authority that regulates the kind of action about which the employee is complaining. For example, it is a whistleblower action if an employee reports widespread discrimination in the workplace to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It is also a whistleblower action if you report unsafe working conditions to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or unfair business practices to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Likewise, it is a whistleblower action if you report crimes you have witnessed at work to your local police department or a federal law enforcement agency.
The agencies will respond to whistleblower claims by investigating them further to see if they can find additional evidence that confirms or contradicts the original claim reported by the whistleblower. Participating in an investigation into misconduct at your place of employment is also a protected activity. If there is an investigation going on at your workplace and you are worried about retaliation if you participate, then it is a good idea to hire a whistleblower claims lawyer. An employment lawyer can also help you if you are making a new whistleblower claim.
Contact HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP About Whistleblower Claims in San Francisco
The San Francisco employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP can help you report misconduct at your workplace or participate in an investigation into someone else’s whistleblower claim. Contact the employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP in San Francisco, California, to set up a consultation.