Like many Texas employees, you go to work every day expecting your employer and supervisors to behave in an ethical manner. At times, it may seem as if you are the only one at work who has standards you are not willing to compromise, even if it means saving or making money for the company. When you see things happening at work that make you uncomfortable or fearful of your legal culpability, you may find you have no option but to speak up or betray your personal values.
Unfortunately, standing up for what is right is not always easy. While you may not have expected your boss to thank you for pointing out the errors, you certainly did not anticipate retaliation. If you are experiencing any form of negative treatment resulting from your whistleblowing, you have the right to protection under the law.
What does retaliation look like?
Whether the violations you observed related to environmental protection, sexual misconduct, financial wrongdoing or other breaches of trust, whistleblowing is an important right of the American worker. It is one way to protect the public from harm and demand accountability from organizations, both public and private. Your employer and perhaps your co-workers may not see things so positively. If your whistleblowing resulted in sanctions, penalties or other repercussions, you may experience retaliation in the form of any of the following or other actions:
- Reassignment to duties or positions that are demeaning or undesirable
- Demotion or denial of a promotion you deserved
- Uncharacteristically negative performance reviews or negative recommendations
- Unfair, inequitable discipline for actions others perform with impunity
- Exclusion from important meetings or conferences that would help you advance in your career
- Isolation from social events within the company
- A hostile work environment
Hostility may include bullying, harassment, intimidation or outright threats. These may come from your supervisor, or your boss may simply look the other way when your co-workers act in this manner toward you. Retaliation may include the loss of your job if your employer fires, suspends or lays you off. You may simply find your hours cut or your pay decreased.
Retaliation for whistleblowing is against the law, and there are numerous state and federal laws protecting those employees who expose unlawful or ethical violations in their places of business. If you suspect you are the victim of retaliation, you would be wise to keep a careful log of any actions you feel are retaliatory. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to seek a satisfying resolution.