One of the biggest fears many employees have when deciding whether to blow the whistle on their employer’s illegal conduct is employer retaliation. No one wants to rat out an employer when it means he or she will be fired from a job. Luckily, California has whistleblower protection laws in place that make it illegal for employers to retaliate against their employees for being a whistleblower. However, these laws do not always stop employers from retaliating against their employees, especially in more subtle ways. Rather than firing a whistleblower employee, which is obvious employer retaliation, an employer may try to push an employee out in more subtle ways. If you believe you may have been the subject of employer retaliation after blowing the whistle on your employer’s illegal conduct, contact the whistleblower lawyers at Willoughby Brod today to find out how we can help.
Six Ways Your Employer May Try to Retaliate Against You
While pushing you out of the company in more subtle ways, your employer may try to convince you that what they are doing is not considered employer retaliation at all. By making yourself knowledgeable about some of the most common ways employers try to push employees out, you can better equip yourself to recognize employer retaliation when it happens to you.
- Termination. The most obvious way in which employers commit employer retaliation is by terminating an employee after discovering that the employee is a whistleblower. If you have been fired immediately after whistleblowing on your employer, the timing suggests that it is more likely than not an act of retaliation
- Suspension. Your employer may not wish to terminate your employment after discovering that you are a whistleblower, but they may decide to suspend you for a specified period of time instead.
- Demotion. If an employer decides to retaliate against a whistleblower employee but does not want to terminate or suspend the employee, the employer may keep the employee at the company but demote him or her to a lower level. If the employee was previously a senior manager, he or she may now be a junior manager.
- Salary cut. While salary cuts often go hand in hand with demotions, salary cuts can happen on their own with or without a corresponding demotion. An employer may elect to keep the whistleblower employee in his or her current position with a reduced pay rate. A salary cut will typically be accompanied by an excuse, such as that the company is running low on funds and is cutting everyone’s salary. By hiring a lawyer to investigate your case, you can quickly come to the bottom of any excuses like this and discover the real reason why you received a salary cut.
- Rescission of benefits. A more subtle way for employers to retaliate against their employees is by taking away their benefits. This does not always take the form of directly rescinding an employee’s healthcare benefits and IRA, but rather a more subtle act such as imposing a reduction in vacation days allowed or number of breaks permitted during the course of a day may be more common.
- Withholding of bonuses. This form of employer retaliation can be difficult to prove, as there can be a number of reasons you did not receive a bonus this year. However, a classic example of employer retaliation is simply refusing to pay the employee bonuses that he or she earned and would otherwise receive absent information about the whistleblowing.
If you believe your employer is retaliating against you for speaking out against the company’s illegal actions, call an experienced whistleblower attorney today. The lawyers at Willoughby Brod have helped whistleblowers through every step of the whistleblowing process, including post-whistleblowing when the retaliation typically happens. Contact us today at (800) 427-7020 or visit us online to schedule your confidential and free consultation.
(image courtesy of Samson Duborg Rankin)