What to Do If You've Been Fired for Whistleblowing
A "whistleblower" is an employee who reports a violation of the law by his or her employer. The violation may be against the reporting employee, as with sexual harassment claims, or may be a general violation such as unlawful pollution practices against environmental law.
Whistleblower Protection Laws
There are numerous federal and state whistleblower protection laws that exist to protect both public and private employees who are fired for reporting violations of the law and/or misconduct against their employers. For instance, federal whistleblower protection laws -- such as key environment laws including the federal Clean Air Act, Toxic Substance Control Act, The Pollution Prevention Act, and other OSHA Whistleblower Protections -- make it unlawful to fire employees in retaliation for filing a claim or reporting violations, including health and safety hazards, and financial misappropriation.
Unlawful to Fire Whisteblowers for Whisteblowing
In addition to federal whistleblower protection laws, most states make it unlawful to fire employees for reporting employer violations and other acts of misconduct. These laws vary, however, with respect to who is protected (whether public employees or private employees) and to whom the protection is afforded (such as co-workers and other business entities). Also, it's important to note that some state laws require timely filing of whistleblowing claims, such as within 90-days or 120-days.
You may file a complaint with OSHA if your employer retaliates against you by taking unfavorable personnel action because you engaged in protected activity relating to workplace safety and health, commercial motor carrier safety, pipeline safety, air carrier safety, nuclear safety, the environment, asbestos in schools, corporate fraud, SEC rules or regulations, railroad carrier safety or security, or public transportation agency safety or security.
Attorneys Specializing in Whistleblowing
If you have been fired for whistleblowing, it might be a good idea to speak with an employment lawyer who can advise you on a wrongful termination claim. A knowledgeable employment lawyer, especially one who specializes in whistleblower cases, can help you recover lost wages, back pay, and litigation costs, among other things.