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Whistleblower Laws Protect Against Employer Retaliation

When an employee suspects that their employer is engaged in an illegal act that could negatively impact the health and safety of others, they can report these actions as part of a whistleblower complaint. When an employee believes that fraud, embezzlement, or other types of white collar crimes are being committed; whistleblower complaints can also extend to financial irregularities as well.

Once these acts have been reported by the whistleblower, they are protected from retaliation by an employer through a number of laws. Many states have protections for both the public and private sector when it comes to filing a complaint; however, in Massachusetts, whistleblower laws apply only to public sector employees.

After a Whistleblower Action Has Been Taken

Once a whistleblower action has been taken, certain regulations take effect to protect the employee against employer retaliation in Boston. Since the passage of the OSH Act in 1970, Congress has expanded protections against employment retaliation by whistleblowers through the passage of 22 federal laws.

This means that public sector employees in Massachusetts who report violations as part of a whistleblower action can’t be retaliated against by their employer, including:

  • Being fired or laid off
  • Demoted
  • Denied raises or promotions
  • Denial of benefits
  • Intimidation or harassment
  • Being the target of threats
  • Reduced pay and hours
  • Blacklisting

If an employee believes they have been retaliated against because they made a whistleblower claim, they must bring their complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within 30 days after the retaliation.

In addition, whistleblowers may also retain an employment law attorney to explore the possibility of filing a claim seeking damages against their employer. An employee or ex-employee can seek reinstatement to a previous job with full benefits and seniority rights, back pay, benefits, and the payment of court and attorney’s fees to be paid by the employer. An employee has two years to file a suit after a retaliatory action takes place.

Davis & Davis, P.C. serves clients in Boston and other surrounding Massachusetts communities.