What is a Whistleblower?
This year’s political headlines have prominently featured news about Whistleblowers and whether certain persons are protected under the law. You may have wondered – What is a whistleblower and under what circumstances are they protected? Just like with most laws, whistleblowers are protected under both federal and state laws and there may be differences in the two. Simply out, a whistleblower is usually an employee who reports the wrongful acts of their employers.
How Are Whistleblowers Protected Under Michigan Law?
Michigan law specifically states “An employer shall not discharge, threaten, or otherwise discriminate against an employee regarding the employee's compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment because the employee, or a person acting on behalf of the employee, reports or is about to report, verbally or in writing, a violation or a suspected violation of a law or regulation or rule promulgated pursuant to law of this state, a political subdivision of this state, or the United States to a public body. . .” The law also protects employees who cooperate or testify in investigative hearings, inquiries or court proceedings.
It is unfortunate that such a law is needed because we trust that employers will obey the law and expect their employees do the same. Unfortunately, some employers not only disobey the law themselves, but actively require their employees to do illegal or unethical things. The statute protects those who report any illegal activity and there is no requirement that, you personally, have been asked to do any wrongdoing. For example, whistleblowers are protected when they report:
- Illegal billing or wage practices;
- Violations of Workplace safety (such as health and safety code violation);
- Unapproved or deceptive marketing or advertising;
- Working with or selling products without obtaining relevant licenses;
Contact Experienced Bloomfield Hills Attorneys Today
If an employer is found to be in violation of the act, he or she is entitled to recover actual damages, including the right to back pay and reinstatement of employment. Furthermore, in certain circumstances a whistleblower may be able to collect damages for emotional distress and attorney fees. Typically, these actions are time sensitive because you must bring a claim within 90 days after your employer has taken adverse actions against you. Therefore, if you feel that you have been fired, demoted, past up on a job promotion or had your wages docked it is imperative that you speak with our office immediately. Click the “Text Us” button on this page, complete our contact form, or call us at 248-258-3500 today to schedule an appointment for a complimentary initial consultation.