Navigating the complex world of employer privileges and employee rights is not at all simple, and far too often employers fire an employee hastily to address a concern without first understanding the applicable laws. Of course, some employers knowingly break the law to get rid of an employee who is causing problems, relying on the employee’s desperation to find more employment to keep them from pushing back.
The reality of these situations is that employers regularly overstep the bounds of the law and leave it up to employees to hold them accountable. For many employees, especially those who just lost a job, pursuing legal action against a former employer does not seem possible because the employer has so many more resources, and employers may even count on this to protect them.
Still, if an employer fires an employee in violation of employee protections, it is worth the time and effort for the employee to fight back, not only for themselves, but to help create a more fair, less oppressive work environment for all people.
If your employer recently terminated you after you took protected actions like reporting illegal behavior or taking parting an investigation, then you should take your responsibilities to yourself and other workers seriously and consider your legal options thoroughly.
Reporting illegal activity
Employees enjoy protection through the law to report unlawful behavior by an employer, even if they believe that an employer is participating in potentially illegal behavior. The protection not only includes reporting illegal activity to an outside authority or regulatory agency, such as OSHA, but also reporting illegal activity internally to a superior or to the human resources department.
If an employer retaliates against the employee for the report, it is illegal and may bring about a number of stiff consequences, including fines and potentially reinstatement of employee.
Cooperating with investigations
In some other cases, an employee may have an opportunity or obligation to cooperate with an investigation into the employer. This, too, is protected by the law. If an employer is under investigation and one or more employees receive subpoenas to testify in the matter, these employees may give their testimonies without fear of retaliation from the employer. Should an employer terminate employees for participation in an investigation, this will only make matters worse for the employer, as it is already under increased scrutiny.
If you believe that your employer terminated you in violation of the law, do not hesitate to protect yourself with a strong legal strategy. A clear understanding of the laws that protect you can help you keep your rights secure while doing your part to make the workplace corruption-free and safe for all.