Do You Have a Retaliation or Whistleblower Case?

You are a whistleblower if you know that something is not right in your workplace and you cannot stand by and let it happen.

You must take some action against corporate fraud, and that is what you do. Many times when individuals speak out against conduct they believe is unlawful, they are retaliated against by their employer – including termination.

Halunen Law is a leading whistleblower law firm with a host of knowledgeable attorneys that provide a wealth of experience in regards to whistleblower protection, policy, and court hearings. The following information is intended to educate readers on what exactly whistleblowing is and how whistleblowers are protected by the law.
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Whistleblowing Definition:

A whistleblower is an employee who reports misconduct by an employer. There are laws that protect whistleblowers from being fired or mistreated for reporting misconduct. One of these laws is the known as the Whistleblower Protection law. This law was put into place to help protect workers for doing the right thing from retaliation by their employers.

You may be a whistleblower in need of protection if you have:

  • made a claim against an entity under the False Claims Act or the IRS, SEC or CFTC whistleblower statutes
  • reported to your company that its conduct violates a state or federal law or regulation
  • reported to an external agency that your company’s conduct violates a state or federal law
  • reported to your company that it is treating you in a way that violates state or federal law or regulation
  • reported to an external agency that your employer is treating you in a way that violates state or federal law or regulation

Information About Whistleblowing Law

The following information provides details on the different aspects of whistleblower laws, including protection for whistleblowers and legal options when employers have retaliated.

Whistleblower Retaliation

If you have witnessed or learned of something illegal at work and reported it, you may be experiencing retaliation or punishment, subtle or obvious, or you may be afraid that someone is planning to pay you back by firing or discrediting you.

Such situations can be extremely difficult to deal with, as they may involve your livelihood, your career and your reputation. An employer can retaliate by:

  • Demoting you
  • Denying you benefits or opportunities
  • Giving you poor reviews
  • Threatening you or treating you abusively
  • Firing you

The good news is that numerous state and federal laws exist to protect whistleblowers from retaliation, whether they work for small or large companies or government agencies. Whistleblowing includes such things as:

  • Reporting to the company or the government that the company is violating laws or regulations
  • Reporting accounting or billing illegalities to a manager or outside authorities
  • Refusing to “cook the books” or commit fraud or an OSHA violation
  • Participating in an investigation
  • Refusing to engage in illegal activities

At Halunen Law, our attorneys know the law, and they know how to deal decisively with illegal retaliation against those who speak the truth about illegal or unethical activity.

How to Protect Yourself

If you have witnessed or learned of something illegal at work either constituting corporate fraud or illegal discrimination against you or others, and if, in conscience, you need to take action, it would be wise to consult with an employment attorney as soon as possible.

  • Before blowing the whistle – If you come to us before reporting illegal conduct we can help minimize potential negative reactions and set you up to be protected under the law.
  • While you are employed – If you have already reported illegal conduct we can help you recognize whether retaliation has occurred and develop a plan to address it.
  • Before or after termination – If termination is imminent or has already happened, we can use your whistleblower status to work out a severance, file a whistleblower lawsuit, or take other action on your behalf.

Whistleblower Severance

Sometimes planning an exit strategy through a proposed severance agreement is the best choice for whistleblowers. Sometimes a whistleblower has already been offered a severance agreement by an employer. The attorneys of Halunen Law provide skilled consultation and representation in both of these situations, particularly as they relate to severance agreements for executives and professionals.Whistleblowers can have substantial leverage in proposing an advantageous severance when companies want to avoid further liability. Careful structuring of the terms is important to maximize your leverage, protect yourself economically, and facilitate a smooth transition to the next step in your career.

The Sarbanes Oxley Act

SOX Protects Whistleblowers: Examples of whistleblower activities protected under SOX include:

  • Reporting an employer’s failure to disclose accurate financial statements to potential investors
  • Reporting an employer’s improper entries on financial statements
  • Exposing senior management’s alteration of delinquency reports
  • Reporting an employer’s use of an unregistered broker to solicit investors in exchange for a commission
  • Raising concerns about a supervisor’s practice of backdating letters of credit
  • Committing other violations of the law and betraying the public trust

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, whistleblowers are motivated by factors including “integrity,” “string ethical standards,” and concerns for public health and safety. If you tried to do the right thing and experienced retaliation, including termination, as a result, our firm’s Minnesota whistleblower retaliation attorneys can help you understand your rights and options.

Contact the Minnesota whistleblower attorneys of Halunen Law. We have dealt with hundreds of retaliation cases, including those involving the Minnesota Whistleblower Act, and we can advise and represent you in even the most difficult employment matters.