Wrongful Termination Lawsuits: Whistleblowing
Last Updated on June 26, 2017
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are no longer investigating this matter. The information here is for reference only. A list of open investigations and lawsuits can be viewed here.
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects
- Anyone who was fired for blowing the whistle at work.
What Rights Do I Have When I Blow the Whistle?
In general, it’s illegal for a company to terminate you for stopping, opposing, reporting or testifying about illegal or unhealthy situations in the workplace. Examples of whistleblowing activity that may be protected include:
- Filing a complaint or grievance with your boss, human resources, the government or other outlet
- Refusing to carry out illegal work assignments (e.g., improperly disposing of chemicals)
- Contacting the media about possible workplace violations
- Testifying as a witness in a case involving your employer
Depending on the circumstances of your employer’s alleged violation, you may be protected by a number of laws, including the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, or even federal environmental laws.
How Do I Know If I Was Fired For Speaking Up?
You may have been fired for speaking up if:
- Your boss yelled at you for bringing up complaints or reporting problems
- Your employer warned you about reporting violations
- Your employer put in writing that you were fired for “calling the EPA,” “talking about wage policies with other employees” or engaging in another protected activity
- You were fired shortly after you spoke up about a problem at work
- Your boss didn’t follow standard procedure when firing you (e.g., first giving you a “warning” or “write-up” for poor performance)
- Your employer kept changing his or her reason as to why you were fired
- Other employees were also fired after speaking up
- Your employer planted false evidence to make it seem like you were terminated for another reason
- You had a history of excellent performance reviews before reporting or stopping the illegal activity
Have These Cases Been Successful?
Yes. Here are some examples of cases filed by whistleblowers who claimed they were terminated for speaking up:
- $650,000 in a lawsuit alleging that a temp agency fired two whistleblowers for participating in an investigation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and opposing race, age, national origin and gender discrimination at work
- $317,000 for a hotel district manager who was terminated after complaining about race discrimination on the job
- $165,000 for a receptionist at a hair salon who warned other employees about the hazards of formaldehyde in the products used on customers
- $100,000 for a woman who testified in another employee’s discrimination case and was fired shortly thereafter
- $33,000 for a whistleblower at a trucking company who was fired after reporting a complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) about inadequate fall protection on the job
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