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How do I File a Whistleblower Retaliation Claim?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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If you uncover wrongdoing at work and alert others to the problem, you may be considered a whistleblower by your superiors and subjected to retaliation, including demotion, harassment at work, or even termination of your employment. If you live in a country that has whistleblower retaliation laws, you may be able to sue your employer for damages. However, it is important to both document your case and contact a lawyer, as well as any professional or employment boards that might have jurisdiction in your case, as soon as possible after you believe that you have been the victim of whistleblower retaliation, as statute of limitations laws may preclude your ability to seek compensation if you wait too long to file your case.

Many places, including the United States, make it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee simply because the employee brought attention to violations of laws, ethics, or public policy within an organization. Both federal and state laws address the issue of whistleblower retaliation, offering varying protections based on the nature of the whistleblower's employment and the violations that the whistleblower attempts to address. In some cases, you may be able to file your claim with a professional board, though you may also want to file a lawsuit in court.

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When you decide to expose corporate misconduct or company fraud, you should likewise begin to document your employment situation. For example, if you have emails or memos from your superiors that indicate that you are doing a good job, save or store them in a private and secure location, ideally off your employer's property or servers. You may need this documentation to prove that your job performance was at least adequate before your employer identified you as a corporate whistleblower. You may also want to begin a search for a whistleblower lawyer, just in case you need to call someone right away.

Once you believe that you have experienced whistleblower retaliation, you'll need to act fast. In some places, such as Arizona or Ohio, state employees only have ten days to file a claim with their respective personnel boards. In other places, you may only have weeks or months to file your claim. You should also keep in mind that the longer you let a situation drag out, the easier it is for a vindictive manager or executive to create situations that can make you appear incompetent and their retaliation justified. By all means attempt to clear the air with your supervisor, but if the situation persists, contact an attorney who specializes in whistleblower retaliation who can advise you how to proceed with your case.

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