Whistleblowers have helped to end health and safety issues in the workplace and in the environment by reporting on the illegal practices and policies of the companies they work for. However, many whistleblowers are then discriminated against in the workplace for bringing problems to attention of authorities such as OHSA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Fortunately, federal and state laws offer protections from discrimination and harassment even if the company was later found to be compliant. If you are a whistleblower, but are concerned about your rights, you need to talk with an employment law attorney.

As an employee you are entitled to certain rights whether you work in the public or private sector. This includes having the right to report violations of the law that you see in your company. Once you officially file a complaint, it’s unlawful for the employer to then retaliate, discriminate or harass you. This means it's illegal for the company to change your employment status by firing, demotion, denying career advancement, layoffs, cutting benefits, transfers or other adverse actions. Harassment in the form of verbal or physical abuse and creating a hostile work environment are also prohibited. It's also illegal to discriminate against you if you are a member of a protected class based on gender, race, religion, disability, or age.

If you believe you're being treated unfairly after you report a workplace violation, you have a few options. You can report this discrimination or harassment to your supervisor or to human resources, or you can file a complaint with OHSA or other state or federal agency. You can also file a lawsuit.

To find the best course of action for your situation it's usually best to get legal advice because state laws vary and there is usually a time limit to file a complaint. For example, OHSA required employees to report discrimination or retaliation for being a whistleblower within 30 days of the discriminatory conduct. There are also other requirements to qualify for protections as a whistleblower.

Whistleblowers bring many serious violations to the attention of the public and governmental agencies, so they have rights to protect them from retaliation. However, whistleblowing is a complex matter. If you want to report on a violation in your company, you need to be aware of the process for reporting violations and understand your rights as a whistleblower.

The attorney’s at Yarian and associates have the knowledge and experience you need if you're a whistleblower or want to become one. Contact our office today to set up an appointment for a free consultation and to discuss your concern and keep your rights protected.



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