If you see something wrong with the way your employer does business, you may wonder if you, as an employee, should speak up. It can be intimidating to discuss certain matters with a Washington, D.C., metropolitan area employer, even if they are not illegal. It can be especially difficult if you witness wrongdoing and illegal activity, and you may be unsure of what will happen if you report these things to the proper authorities.
Unfortunately, many whistleblowers face termination as a retaliatory measure after reporting certain types of activities. If this happened to you, there may be certain protections and options available to you. Your brave choice to speak out about what happened at your workplace may put you in a difficult position, and it can be helpful to learn how you can protect yourself after making this decision.
Federal, state, and D.C. laws could protect your interests
There are many reasons why employees find themselves as whistleblowers. For example, you may need to report unsafe working conditions or illegal financial practices. You may also be a witness to workplace harassment or discrimination, and you may feel obligated to speak out. If you report any of these things or other types of illegal activity, there are federal, state, and local laws that may offer you protection. This means your employer cannot fire you, demote you or take other negative actions against you.
Examples of federal laws that protect whistleblowers include the retaliation laws administered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a number of other whistleblower laws administered by the Department of Labor, OSHA. Retaliation is illegal and can be a basis to take action against your employer or former employer. If you believe you are experiencing illegal treatment, it is helpful to document everything carefully and take immediate steps to discover the specific legal options available to you.
Your right to recovery and possible compensation
Termination in response to whistleblowing can be illegal, and victims of this action do not have to remain quiet or assume they have no options available to them. You could have valid grounds to pursue a claim against your employer for your wrongful termination. The civil justice system provides you with the opportunity to hold liable parties accountable and seek appropriate compensation or other remedies. If you are unsure of where to begin, you may want to start with an assessment of your individual case by an attorney.