Jan 15 2018
If you find out that your employer has broken the law, you might feel obligated to report it. And if you do, you will become what is often called a “whistleblower.” There are many federal and Connecticut state laws that protect whistleblowers from retaliation by their employers. The employment lawyers at Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C. regularly work with our clients to enforce those laws and to see that whistleblowers have the protections they deserve.
To start, it’s important to note that whistleblowers serve a vital function in our political system. The government relies on whistleblowers to come forward with information about wrongdoing so it can be investigated and prevented. Consider just one example involving whistleblowers who report fraud on the federal government – so-called “false claims” cases. According to a recent press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, the federal government recovered more than $3.7 billion in the 2017 fiscal year using the False Claims Act. Of that $3.7 billion, $3.4 billion came from whistleblower lawsuits.
Unfortunately, the fear of retaliation often prevents employees from reporting their employers’ violations. We all depend on our jobs for our livelihoods. And when potential whistleblowers think about blowing the whistle, they often think they will lose their jobs. Whistleblowers should be aware that there are laws in place that protect them against employer retaliation and that, if their employer does retaliate, there are lawyers – like the lawyers at Garrison, Levin-Epstein – who can help fight for employee rights.
In order to qualify as a whistleblower and to be protected from retaliation, you must engage in what is known as a “protected activity.” Examples of protected conduct include:
- Complaining to your employer about employment discrimination
- Answering questions during an employer investigation of alleged harassment
- Refusing to follow orders that would result in discrimination
- Resisting sexual advances or intervening to protect others from sexual harassment
- Requesting accommodation of a disability or for a religious practice
- Reporting conduct to your employer or to the government that you believe is illegal
Employers are not allowed to treat you negatively because you engaged in any of the above “protected activities.” In other words, they are not allowed to retaliate. Acts of employer retaliation might include:
- Negative performance evaluation
- Transfer to a less desirable position
- Verbal or physical abuse
- Creating a hostile work environment
If you are a whistleblower or have been subjected to retaliation, you need an experienced employment attorney on your side. At Garrison, Levin-Epstein, employment law is our focus and our passion. We can deliver the experience and the expertise that working people need for their toughest fights. Contact us today to arrange a consultation.