Whistleblower laws are in place to protect employees from retaliation following reports of unlawful activities or violations of an employee’s rights. However, employees in New York and elsewhere might feel targeted or vulnerable after blowing the whistle on his or her employer. In these cases, employees should be aware of the rights afforded to them.
According to recent reports, United States banking giant Wells Fargo has recently been under fire and intense scrutiny for its handling of employees following news of a nationwide scandal involving the firing of over five thousand workers amid allegations that is created millions of fake credit card and bank accounts. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA is addressing numerous whistleblower complaints from current and former employees over the scandal, dating back as far as 2010.
In addition to potential unlawful firing of employees for failing to create illegal and bogus accounts, many employees are also claiming that the company failed to pay them appropriate overtime wages. Moreover former Wells Fargo employees have filed a class action lawsuit for $7.2 billion dollars against the company. The United States Department of Labor has created a website to specifically address Wells Fargo employees’ concerns regarding the potential employee rights violations.
If you believe that your company is involved with illegal or unethical behavior, you have the right to file a claim against the company without fear of retaliation. It remains to be seen how hard Wells Fargo will be penalized regarding this scandal, but the allegations are serious and involve thousands of employees. The size of a company does not matter though; any employee at any company has equal protections under whistleblower laws.
Source: CNN Money, “U.S. probes Wells Fargo whistleblower, wage theft complaints,” Matt Egan, Sept. 27, 2016