Charlotte Whistleblower Protection Lawyer
Employers in the United States must abide by the laws and regulations that govern them, especially when it comes to the health and safety of employees. When there are risks and hazards to employees in the workplace that go unaddressed, they can lead to ongoing injuries and harm to the workforce. Due to this, a variety of federal and state laws have been established to protect whistleblowers in a broad variety of occupations and industries. Reach out to an experienced Charlotte whistleblower protection lawyer from The Fuller Law Firm, P.C. to learn what options you might have.
A whistleblower is an individual who draws attention to the unlawful behavior of their employer by reporting it to the appropriate authorities. Generally, the purpose of these reports is to protect workers’ or consumers’ safety or to protect against future harm from the employer. Given the societal benefit of whistleblowing, the protections we’ll consider below have been established to protect whistleblowers.
If you have lost your job, experienced a decrease in compensation or other opportunities, or encountered other negative repercussions because you reported unlawful behavior by your employer, you could be protected by whistleblower laws and entitled to a claim for your associated damages. If you have the right to a claim, you may be able to collect financial compensation and any other damages you have experienced.
The Fair Trade Commission and the Whistleblower Act
According to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC), “Whistleblowers play a critical role in keeping our Government honest, efficient, and accountable.” Federal law recognizes the importance and value of whistleblowers and as a result, has established strong protections for whistleblowers. Actions that violate statutes and laws are generally harmful to more than a single individual, and whistleblowers have the capacity to protect numerous people from ongoing harm by drawing attention to the illegal behaviors of their employers.
The protections in place through the FTC apply to federal employees, in addition to the employees of federal contractors, subcontractors, grantees, or subgrantees. The protections and remedies available to whistleblowers that fall within these groups will vary depending upon their classification. If you do not work for the federal government or an organization linked to federal workers, there are still whistleblower protections in place through OSHA and other national organizations that enforce laws and standards.
Our Charlotte Whistleblower Protection Lawyers Address OSHA’s Role in Supporting Whistleblowing
OSHA is a branch of the United States Department of Labor and exists to support and protect the health and safety of America’s employees through the establishment and enforcement of safety standards and regulations. To support the safety of the American workplace, OSHA has established the Whistleblower Protection Program, which asserts that “You have the right to report if your workplace is unsafe.”
Bringing risks to the attention of the relevant authorities seems like the appropriate thing to do, as an employer that is knowingly putting the health and safety of employees at risk violates federal law. As an employee, you might wonder what could happen to you if you decide to report your employer to support your health and the health of your fellow employees.
What happens if you instead choose to bring the issues to your employer’s attention first and are fired? What if your employer learns that you reported the statute- or rule-violating behavior and begins to treat you unfavorably in the workplace?
What Protections Does the Whistleblower Protection Program Offer?
The Whistleblower Protection Policy states that an employer cannot retaliate against an employee for exercising their rights under the Department of Labor’s whistleblower protection laws. Deciding to call out the unsafe behavior of your employer can ultimately save yourself and others physical harm; however, it could lead to unfavorable treatment on your behalf by your employer if they learn of your whistleblowing activity. If such unfavorable treatment legally qualifies as “retaliation,” you may be able to file a claim to recover damages. A Charlotte whistleblower protection lawyer at The Fuller Law Firm can advise you on the strength of your claim, given the particulars of your case.
Employees are Protected from Retaliation by the Department of Labor (DOL) for Reporting Certain Issues
As explained by the DOL, you are protected as an employee from retaliation for reporting issues linked to the following:
- Agricultural work
- Consumer product and food safety
- Employee safety
- Environmental protection
- Family and medical leave
- Fraud and financial issues
- Health insurance
- Lie detector testing
- Military status and obligations
- Mine hazards and inspections
- Minimum wage
- Overtime pay
- Transportation services
- Youth employment
If you experience any form of retaliation following reporting on any of these covered behaviors, you will have a right to file a claim. Winning a claim for wrongful workplace retaliation requires the collection of evidence in support of your case to verify that your reporting activity was protected and that the Whistleblower Protection Policy applies to your employer. Taking the time to apply the law and outcomes of similar cases to the unique facts of your situation is one of the primary values offered by your local Charlotte whistleblower protection lawyer from The Fuller Law Firm, P.C.
What Legally Qualifies as Employer Retaliation?
Retaliation is defined briefly and simply by the US Department of Labor (DOL) as when an employer, through an agent like the manager or supervisor, “fires an employee or takes any other type of adverse action against an employee for engaging in protected activity.” An “adverse action” is defined as an action that would dissuade a reasonable employee from raising a concern about the possible violation or from engaging in another relevant protected activity.
Retaliation includes the following actions:
- Laying off
- Denying overtime
- Denying promotions
- Reducing compensation or hours
The DOL notes that retaliation can have a negative impact on the overall morale of an employee. When workplace retaliation for a covered whistleblower activity leads to harm, whether financial or even psychological, the targeted employee may have a claim for compensation.
Whistleblowers Who are Retaliated Against May Have a Right to Compensation
To collect compensation after you have suffered some form of harm, you need to prove that there are measurable damages that resulted from the harm. In the case of workplace retaliation, you need to prove that you lost some form of compensation or that you experienced another form of harm like mental or psychological pain and suffering.
If you have experienced financial, psychological, or other harm as a result of retaliatory behavior from your employer after you reported their statute- or policy-violating behavior, you are protected by whistleblower laws. Connecting with a Charlotte whistleblower protection lawyer from The Fuller Law Firm, P.C. will help to frame what you have experienced and identify whether or not you have a case to collect related damages.
Connect with a Charlotte Whistleblower Protection Lawyer from The Fuller Law Firm, P.C.
Experiencing retaliation for your rightful reporting of wrongful employer behavior is illegal under North Carolina and federal law. Whistleblower protections are in place to protect employees from engaging in covered behaviors and to support the health and safety of the workforce at large. Our employment lawyers have decades of experience in the courtroom advocating for the best interests of clients who, like you, have suffered financial or other harm.
Proving retaliation for whistleblowing can be a complex and time-consuming task, but with an experienced Charlotte whistleblower protection lawyer at The Fuller Law Firm on your side, your time demands are minimized while the outcome of your case is maximized. To learn how we can help on your case, give us a call at (704) 659-5600, or visit our site to schedule a consultation.