Employees have certain rights and protections that are provided by both State and Federal laws. Some of these rights include fair wage laws, rights to be protected from discrimination and harassment and rights to a safe work environment, just to name a few. If an employer violates any of these rights the employee may have a variety of remedies, which could include filing a formal complaint or even bringing a lawsuit.
The law is designed to protect employees who stand up for their rights and file complaints of any nature against the unsafe or unlawful practices of an employer. These laws are called whistleblower laws. So, if you filed a complaint against your employer and lost your job, or maybe you were passed over for a promotion or a raise, or taken off of a big project, you may be protected by these whistleblower laws. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who files a complaint and whistleblower laws are designed to protect employees from such retaliation.
In order to have a whistleblower claim, you must be able to that you are an employee who engaged in a protected whistleblower activity and that the retaliation by the employer was motivated, at least in part, by the whistleblower activity that you engaged in. There are various Federal and State regulations that define protected activity, and numerous factors may be used to demonstrate the employer’s discriminatory motive.
The nuances of these laws can be complicated and many whistle blower laws have relatively short statutes of limitations for filing a claim. If you feel that you have been retaliated against for filing a complaint against your employer, it is essential to talk with an experienced employment law attorney to assist you with a potential whistleblower claim and protect your employee rights.
Source: National Whistleblower Center, Know Your Rights FAQ, accessed Jan. 16, 2018