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Can your employer fire you for whistleblowing?

If you see something illegal occur at the workplace, you have a responsibility to report it to the proper authority, known as whistleblowing. However, in many instances, your employer may not want you to report it, and may attempt to dissuade you or punish you for following your conscience. In some extreme instances, an employer may even fire you.

In general, it is illegal to fire an employee for whistleblowing, but that does not dissuade many employers from doing it anyway. If your employer fired you for reporting illegal behavior, then you probably have a strong legal claim of wrongful termination, and should consider the legal tools and resources you can use to fight back.

Unfortunately, it is not always simple to connect the dots between your termination and your report of illegal activity, depending on the circumstances. It is also possible that your termination is not actually related to whistleblowing, even if both elements are present. In order to protect your rights and future professional life, you must prepare a wrongful termination claim very carefully.

If you are still considering whether or not to turn whistleblower, be sure that you understand the time constraints that you must work within. While the specifics vary from state to state, whistleblowers have a fairly small window of time to file a claim, usually within a few years of the violation they witness.

Whether your employer has already fired you for whistleblowing or you are still considering when to make your report, it is always wise to carefully examine the laws that apply to your situation and prepare strong legal protections for your rights and personal security. Don't let bad circumstances keep you from following your conscience and creating a safer, more just work environment for all.

Source: FindLaw, "What to Do If You've Been Fired for Whistleblowing," accessed May 11, 2018

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