Can I Be Fired for Whistleblowing?

Under the laws of most states it is illegal for an employee to be fired for whistle blowing. A whistle blower is someone who discovers his/her employer has been violating the law and reports them. The violation could be something the complaining employee is experiencing such as sexual harassment which is prohibited in workplaces or it could be another type of violation such as illegal polluting.

The law is supposed to protect employees when they file complaints about employers. Retaliation by the employer is a violation of the law. There are remedies available for any employee who loses his/her job due to retaliation for being a whistle blower.

Retaliation by an Employer is a Violation of the Law

If a whistleblower has been fired, that is considered wrongful termination but may also be retaliation by the employer. This is illegal but still takes place too often when the employer takes no notice of the laws.

There are many federal laws such as the Clean Air Act, Toxic Substance Control Act and the Pollution Prevention Act which make it illegal to fire employees in retaliation for filing a claim or reporting a violation. If you act as a whistleblower against your employer and you are fired there are remedies in place that protect you from wrongful termination.

For example, if you report to your employer that you have been a victim of sexual harassment which is illegal in the workplace and should be stopped by your employer but no action is taken against the harasser but you are fired for lodging the complaint. Or perhaps you caught your employer dumping waste which is violating clean water laws but your employer retaliated by firing you. There are remedies available to you to compensate you for being fired under the wrongful termination laws.

You may be able to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination because your employer has violated the Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower protections. These prohibit a publicly traded company, or any contractor, from retaliating against an employee who blows-the-whistle on what s/he reasonably believes to be a violation of statutes which prohibit bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, or securities fraud, any rule or regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or any provision of federal law which is related to fraud against shareholders.  Any complaints have to be filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within 180 days of the violation taking place.

Remedies Available for Wrongful Termination

  1. Double back pay;
  2. Interest on the back pay;
  3. Reinstatement of job status to the same position the whistleblower maintained before reporting fraud;
  4. Any special damages including but not limited to lost commissions, bonuses, raises, vacation pay or other fringe benefit;
  5. Recovery of attorney’s fees.

Double Back Pay

Your employer may be asked to pay you any back pay owed after you were terminated from your job to the date you are reinstated. This may be doubled to make double back pay.

Interest on The Back Pay

You may also get interest paid on the double back pay as if you had invested the money.

Reinstatement of job status to the same position the whistleblower maintained before reporting fraud

As long as you have the evidence to prove that you were terminated wrongfully due to whistle blowing you should be able to get your job back and take on the same position as before you filed the complaint about your employer.

Any special damages including but not limited to lost commissions, bonuses, raises, vacation pay or other fringe benefit

If you have missed opportunities to get commission or go on vacation or missed out on a bonus you should be able to claim these lost payments as part of the remedy for being wrongfully terminated for whistle blowing on your employer.

Recovery of attorney’s fees

In order to be compensated by the right amount and get your job back after being a whistle blower,  if you hire an attorney to guide you through the process you should be able to recover your attorney’s fees as part of your compensation package.

Get Help Today

Even if you believe you have a good case for filing a claim for compensation for wrongful termination as a whistle blower it may be far easier to win this claim if you have an attorney helping you through the often long and difficult process.

Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form to get in touch with an employment law attorney that takes cases in your area today.

Additional Resources