In order to understand if you can be fired for being a whistleblower you must first fully understand what constitutes becoming one. Any employee who reports a violation of the law committed by an employer can be considered a whistleblower, regardless of the claims being made. These can range from violations of standard industry practices to sexual harassment claims but whatever the case may be, if you report these violations or claims to an authority you are protected by the laws that govern your state.
But while the laws in place for whistleblower protection can vary from one state to the next, there is one thing that every jurisdiction has in common – it is unlawful for an employer to fire any employee who comes forward as a whistleblower to report violations being committed by that employer.
That’s not say that employees don’t get fired in retaliation for their actions coming forward. It does happen even though it falls out of compliance with whistleblower laws on the books. Should this happen to you or if you are considering coming forward about a violation or violations being committed by your employer, you should always contact a whistleblower attorney who will help protect your rights.
Finding the right attorney can make all the difference in your ability to protect your rights and take on your employer should he or she dismiss you for reporting illegal practices in the workplace.
Multiple state and federal laws are in place to safeguard the rights of both public and private employees who are dismissed from their employment because they have come forward about violations and/or misconduct on the part of their employer. But regardless of the claim being filed or the violations committed, it is unlawful for that employer, individual or organization, to dismiss the employee as a result.
Any retaliation taken against an employee in this regard is prohibited under multiple mandates and statutes including OSHA whistleblower protections, along with multiple additional bodies and regulatory groups.
Firing A Whistleblower
The laws against firing a whistleblower extend to both federal and state jurisdictions and it is unlawful in most states to fire anyone for reporting violations. However, the laws do vary from one state to the next as to whom can enjoy these protections be it public or private employees, as well as to whom these protections are afforded in each situation.
Certain states have very specific requirements and limitations on the books as to the amount of time a whistleblower has to file a claim and still enjoy protection under the law. In most instances, a whistleblower must file their claim within 90 to 120 days of a violation being committed in order to enjoy full protection.
For example, those who are filing a claim against an employer who has taken retaliatory action against you in the state of California, the limitation is two years from the date of the alleged retaliation. Such complaints can be made to any number of regulatory enforcement bodies but OSHA should definitely be included as part of your reporting.