If Your Employer Punishes You for Doing What’s Right, You Have Options
The laws designed to protect the rights of American workers are only as effective as the ability of workers to exercise those rights. Unfortunately, many employers threaten the livelihoods and reputations of employees who do what’s right, report conduct that is believed to be illegal, or simply ask for benefits to which they’re entitled. Often, those who have reported illegal conduct are referred to as whistleblowers.
Retaliation against an employee can involve much more than termination. It can be more subtle and less abrupt than firing. Prohibited retaliation against a whistleblower includes any “materially adverse action” taken against an employee for asserting their legally protected rights. That is, a negative action that would deter a reasonable person from blowing the whistle can constitute prohibited retaliation that can result in a lawsuit.
A Closer Look at Whistleblower Retaliation
Most cases of prohibited whistleblower retaliation our attorneys encounter involve employees who report wrongdoing or violations of the law by their employer or those who suffer because they exercised rights that the law provides to them.
An employee doesn’t need to make a formal report or complaint to a regulator or government body to be a victim of retaliation. An employer can be held accountable for adverse employment actions taken in response to an employee:
- Communicating with a supervisor or manager about a problem or violation of the law, such as employment discrimination or harassment
- Answering questions during an employer investigation of alleged misconduct
- Refusing to engage in illegal or wrongful activities
- Resisting acts of discrimination, harassment, or misconduct, or intervening to protect others
- Requesting accommodation of a disability or for a religious practice
Examples of workplace retaliation employers have taken against whistleblowers include:
- Verbal or emotional abuse
- Unfair criticism of performance
- Unfair performance improvement plans
- Negative performance reviews
- Shunning and exclusion
- Transfer to a less desirable location or space
- Change of shift or schedule
- Reduction in pay
- Reduction in benefits
Lawyers Who Will Fight Workplace Retaliation With You
Minnesota-based Halunen Law has built a nationwide reputation fighting for those who stand up for themselves, their colleagues, or the law. Our expert attorneys have successfully represented victims of whistleblower retaliation at companies large and small, in the public and private sectors, and in a broad spectrum of industries. Contact us to speak with an intake specialist about your unique situation.
Types of Retaliation Claims
At Halunen Law, our whistleblower lawyers frequently represent clients in retaliation actions based on:
- Reporting or complaining about employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status, marital status, religion, or any other reason prohibited by law
- Reporting sexual harassment or misconduct
- Reporting unsafe working conditions or violations of applicable federal or state safety and health laws, such as violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
- Failure to make reasonable accommodation or other violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Assertion of rights under wage and hour laws, including failure to pay minimum wage or overtime pay or misclassification as an independent contractor
- Failure to respect rights under workers’ compensation laws
- Assertion of employee rights to family or medical leave, including leave rights related to COVID-19
- Disrespect of military service or deployment (USERRA claims) requirements
- Adverse response to jury service requirements
- Reporting violations of state and federal laws and regulations
- Blowing the whistle on conduct that may violate:
Retaliation Remedies Available for Employees
Retaliation laws provide a number of remedies for employees who successfully prove that their employer illegally retaliated against them. These remedies are designed to compensate employees for their ordeal and make them whole, including:
- Back pay
- Front pay
- Damages for emotional distress
- Attorney’s fees and costs
- In some instances, punitive damages
Proven Employment Whistleblower Retaliation Attorneys
If your employer retaliated against you for exercising your legal rights, contact Halunen Law. One of our intake specialists will listen to your story, and then you may be referred to one of our workplace retaliation attorneys, who will provide you with a free, confidential consultation to help determine if you have grounds to pursue a legal claim against your employer.
At Halunen Law, there’s no cost to you unless we win. We have years of experience litigating and resolving these contentious matters and have obtained positive outcomes on behalf of employees who experienced retaliation in a broad range of circumstances. Contact our firm at 612-605-4098 or submit this contact form online.
Contact us to get your important legal questions answered.
Our experienced employment and whistleblower lawyers offer a free, confidential consultation to all potential clients. There is no cost to our clients unless we win.
When you contact our law firm, one of our Intake Specialists will be your first significant point of contact. Well-versed in Halunen Law’s practice areas, these professionals will listen to your concerns and direct your call accordingly.