When an employee discovers legal or ethical wrongdoing in the workplace, they often face a difficult decision. Should they disclose the information to a co-worker or supervisor? While most employers handle these matters and thank the employee for their honesty, there are times when an employer may retaliate against the whistleblower in some way. For example, if you notified your supervisor of a workplace violation you uncovered and they denied you a promotion or terminated your employment contract, you have the right to fight back against these retaliatory actions. Our experienced employment law attorneys are here to advocate on your behalf and hold your employer accountable for their unlawful retaliatory actions.
Federal and state laws include protections for so-called whistleblowers—employees who dutifully report legal and ethical violations in the workplace. Under the Whistleblower Protection Act, federal government employees are protected from demotion, harassment, termination, and retaliation when they report employer wrongdoing.
Non-governmental employees are protected under state-specific laws or common law doctrines. For example, Rhode Island’s Whistleblower Protection Act safeguards employees from retaliation for, among others, reporting legal violations or participating in investigations. In Massachusetts, the public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine protects employees from termination for reasons that contravene public policy, such as discrimination or complaining about a violation of law that affects public policy. Furthermore, both federal and state laws, including wage and hour and anti-discrimination statutes, protect employees from retaliation for exercising their rights, such as complaining internally, filing complaints or participating in investigations.
Many employees who have been adversely affected by fulfilling their reporting obligations feel confused and disoriented, and they often need help understanding their legal options for redressing the situation. Our team is here to assess your situation and identify the most strategic path forward.
If you reported an act of wrongdoing in the workplace or you helped your co-workers assert their protected employment law rights, you may find yourself in the unfortunate position of being demoted or even fired for your lawful actions. Acts of retaliation against whistleblowers are serious and often violations of state and federal laws, so reach out to our office as soon as possible to discuss your situation. Together, we can determine whether your legal protections have been violated and, if so, what steps we can take to seek reinstatement and financial compensation for what you’ve endured. attorney.