Who is a Whistleblower?
A whistleblower is an individual who voluntarily discloses the misconduct and wrongdoing of their employer to the public. A whistleblower is usually a person of authority who willingly discloses illegal operations and misconduct of his/her employer in both private and public sector companies. In the U.S., whistleblowers are protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989. However, each state has its own protection laws for protecting whistleblowers. Speak to a highly skilled employment attorney to help you against whistleblower termination.
Some misconducts might include a drastic violation of company policy, illegal practices, fraud, corruption and many other dishonest activities. Whistleblowers face strict legal action apart from social stigma, termination from work and other dangerous consequences. This is why certain laws exist, which protects the rights of whistleblowers.
Understanding Termination as a Form of Retaliation
Companies use termination as the first form of retaliation against a whistleblower. Employers will take action to reprimand and punish any future whistleblowers from coming forward as an intimidation practice.
The rights of a whistleblower are protected under The Illinois Whistleblower Act. This law makes it unlawful for any employer to retaliate and terminate an employee if they report any illegal misconduct of the company. Although the Whistleblower Act does not include protection from governmental entities, the Act does cover any termination, wage reduction, demotion, refusal for promised promotions in future and write-ups. It also empowers whistleblower employees to cooperate in any ongoing investigations against their employer for unlawful operations and activities. However, the whistleblower must have strong evidence of misconducts and illegal operations of their employer.
If the employer is found to be in violation of any part of the Whistleblower Act, then the company and its owners may be liable to the employee in a civil suit. According to the Whistleblower Act, any employer found guilty of misconduct and illegal activities may be liable to the employee for injunctive relief. Sometimes this injunctive relief equates to twice the amount owed back to the terminated employee.
How to file a Complaint If a Whistleblower is Terminated?
To file a complaint successfully, the identity of the whistleblower must be kept confidential, unless circumstances require the disclosure of his/her identity by law. For state employees, if they want to disclose or threaten to disclose any unlawful activity, they have to contact the right authorities for protection. Speak to an experienced employment attorney if you have been terminated for whistleblowing. You will receive protection against the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act if you choose to file a complaint against termination.
If you want to know more about things to remember when hiring a lawyer or want to schedule a free consultation, contact the Law Office of Michael Smith at (847) 220-5197 to talk with an experienced whistleblower termination lawyer.