John A. Klassen, PA Minnesota Employment Law Attorney
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Is it common for whistleblowers to experience retaliation?

When employees in Minnesota and elsewhere believe that something unlawful is going on in the workplace, those employees might report their employer to law enforcement officials. While federal laws and regulations protect whistleblowers, this does not eliminate the possibility of an employer taking action to retaliate against an employee.

Is it common for whistleblowers to experience retaliation from employers? According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, more commonly known as the EEOC, retaliation has been the most reported issue by federal employees over the past decade. Almost half of all complaints filed in the fiscal year of 2013 were complaints of retaliation. Moreover, about 42 percent of those complaints were findings of discrimination based on retaliation.

What does retaliation look like? In many cases, employees might suffer harassment, demotion or even termination as a form of retaliation for reporting an employer for a violation. The same laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace also work to prohibit retaliation against employees who oppose unlawful acts in the workplace, such discrimination. The EEOC, as a federal agency, is one government entity tasked with enforcing these laws.

Employees who believe that they are being retaliated against for being a whistleblower should understand the employee rights afforded to whistleblowers. An employee may be able to report employer retaliation if they have suffered mistreatment, harassment, demotion or employment termination as a result of whistleblowing. Filing this action will not only stop this mistreatment, but it could also help the employee recover compensation for the damages suffered from employer retaliation.

Source: Eeoc.gov, "Retaliation - Making it Personal," accessed Sept. 26, 2015

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