When an employee suspects that their employer is acting illegally in a way that could compromise the health and safety of others, they can report these actions as part of a whistleblower complaint. Whistleblowers may also file complaints about financial irregularities when they believe corporate or publicly traded company fraud exists. Depending on the nature of the allegation, an employee may contact any number of regulatory agencies at the state or federal level.
Once a whistleblower action has transpired, certain regulations take effect to protect the employee against retaliation. In fact, since the passage of the OSH Act in 1970, Congress has expanded protections to combat retaliations against whistleblowers through the passage of 22 federal laws. Many state laws are also on the books to protect whistleblower employees as well.
The protections offered under the OSH Act shield workers who report violations as part of a whistleblower action, they can’t be retaliated against by their employer, including:
- Being fired or laid off
- Denied raises or promotions
- Denial of benefits
- Intimidation or harassment
- Being the target of threats
- Reduced pay and hours
If an employee feels they have been retaliated against because they made a whistleblower claim, they must bring their complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within 30 days of the retaliation.
Whistleblowers who are the victims of any of these actions may have the basis for a whistleblower defense claim and could be entitled to damages against their employer. It’s best to retain an attorney in these instances, since the suit could be a long and complicated process.
Raun Muntz O-Grady LLP serves clients in Los Angeles, Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Anaheim, Orange County and communities throughout Southern California.