Our last post discussed how Minnesota statutes protect workers against retaliation if they blow the whistle and report their employer's illegal activities. Unfortunately, sometimes employers break these laws and retaliate against whistleblowers. They may discriminate against the whistleblower, for example, by unlawfully denying them a promotion or by demoting them. They may unjustly punish the whistleblower or could even outright fire the whistleblower. Although these acts are illegal, they still occur far too often.
The violation of whistleblower protection laws is a serious situation. Not only do such violations infringe on workers' rights, but they could have a chilling effect on a worker's willingness to report illegal activity. Because agencies often rely on the information provided by whistleblowers to learn when an employer is violating the law, such a chilling effect is particularly concerning. Fortunately, there are steps a whistleblower can take if he or she believes they were retaliated against at work for reporting illegal activity.
One option that may be available to some is pursuing damages through a lawsuit. Some examples of damages that may be sought include those for lost wages and emotional distress. Some damages may even be punitive in nature. Sometimes a whistleblower will also request to be reinstated to his or her job.
Going up against your employer or former employer in a courtroom can be intimidating, to say the least. It is important to be thoroughly prepared to present concrete evidence of the retaliation and how it has harmed you. While the law is on the whistleblower's side, it still takes a good understanding of how the law applies to the facts of one's case in order to present a strong argument.
When an employee is facing a situation like this with their employer, it can help to have an attorney who is experienced at helping whistleblowers with their legal rights. To learn more about how an attorney can be of assistance in whistleblower retaliation claims, visit the webpage of John A. Klassen, PA, Minnesota Employment Law Attorney.