Often people use the excuse that "it is just business" in order to justify committing crimes that will increase profits. When you become aware that your employer is engaging in any form of illegal activity, you may be too scared to say something for fear of losing your job or ruining your professional reputation. Maybe you are scared officials will think you were involved in the criminal behavior or made it up.
Whatever the reason for your hesitation, the good news is that federal law protects you from retaliation for whistleblowing, filing a workers' compensation claim, reporting discrimination and other actions. The following are just three of the ways the law offers protection.
1. Retain your employment
Of course, you are always welcome to quit a job you do not like or feel safe in, but your employer cannot fire you due to reporting him or her for violations. This is wrongful termination and warrants a lawsuit if it happens, so you can obtain compensation for lost wages and more.
2. Avoid discipline
Perhaps your boss knows firing you is off the table but tries to discipline you in other ways, such as giving you an undeserved low performance evaluation, demoting you or making work difficult through schedule changes. These actions are only legal if there is a reason for them other than retaliation or discrimination; for example, if you got violent in your accusations against someone. However, some forms of discipline are never okay, reveals the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Your employer cannot create a hostile environment in order to punish you or get you to leave on your own.
3. Remain anonymous
In some cases of whistleblowing, you may be able to maintain anonymity. It depends on the level of illegal conduct occurring, the prominence of the business involved and the route you take to report it. As this area can be complex, it is wise to hire legal services to help you safely navigate the procedure for whistleblowing.