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Protections in whistleblower situations

Every employee desires to work in an environment that is safe and free from negative pressure and influence from other employees. Unfortunately, there are situations in which this comfort is compromised and an employee can be left in a position in which they feel something needs to be said. Speaking up and pointing out wrongdoings by a company can be extremely stressful and even can feel unsafe, but there are various safety nets and shields that make whistle blowing a viable option.

A whistleblower is an employee who reports illegal violations by his or her employer. It may seem like career suicide to report your own company for violations since the old saying goes, "don't bite the hand that feeds you." Thankfully, there are federal, state and many local laws and acts in place to protect a worker from retaliation from an employer. Common whistleblower reports include environmental violations such as illegal dumping or financial violations, such as "cooking the books" to avoid taxes or covering up transactions or finances.

It is important to note that whistleblower claims must be filed within a reasonable time frame, typically 90 to 120 from the date of the infraction. Due to the sensitive nature of complaint and an employer potentially trying to cover up illegal activities, it is wise to report issues with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA.

Whether you are dealing with this or other employment law issues, you should understand your rights and options in the matter. This might require speaking with a legal professional familiar with employment law, which could help protect you from retaliation from your employer.

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