No matter where a person decides to work, there is a chance that they will witness their employer doing something they should not be doing. Ideally, employers should not violate the law and put their employees in a difficult spot, but it happens from time to time and people have to make the decision to report their employer or ignore any wrongdoing. Moving forward with reporting their employer is the right thing to do, but they will then be known as a whistleblower, and they may find themselves experiencing changes in the workplace, starting with a hostile work environment and likely escalating from there.
Four men were just awarded $850,000 in a whistleblower lawsuit against their former employer. The lawsuit, which was first filed in 2010, was the result of several things, including the men not being paid the appropriate wage, being discriminated against for their heritage, and being terminated after raising concerns about the safety issues at their job. Their award was a combination of back wages and damages.
It is not unusual for people who are reporting their employer for violating the law to be doing so because of unsafe or hazardous work conditions. Although people may be afraid, they have the right to question their employer about certain things going on in the workplace, especially if it can affect their safety or the safety of the public. Even though there is the chance that the employer may retaliate against them, knowing that someone is concerned about these safety hazards may actually cause them to make the changes necessary to ensure the workplace is safe for everyone there.
Whenever people have been terminated by their employer for a reason they do not feel is fair, they should look into whether or not their employment rights have been violated. Employers expect their employees to respect them, so they should do the same, regardless of an employee’s heritage or if they are a whistleblower. Anyone who is interested in filing a claim against their employer or would like to have their questions answered regarding whistleblower protection may want to speak with an attorney.
Source: NJ.com, “4 masons win over $850K in damages in whistleblower trial,” Kevin Shea, April 15, 2016