What happens if you learn that your employer is engaging in some type of illegal or dangerous activity? You may be understandably nervous about taking action against your employer, especially during these uncertain economic times. You do not have to go through the corporate whistleblowing process alone. One of the best things you can do is consult with a whistleblower attorney who can advise you of your rights and help you navigate the process of providing information to the appropriate government agency.
Your Rights as a Whistleblower
Do you have material information regarding a business or individual defrauding a government entity or the public? If so, you have a right to file a claim under the federal False Claims Act. Claims filed under the False Claims Act are frequently referred to as qui tam actions. If you are an eligible whistleblower, you may qualify for financial compensation once you file your claim. There are several requirements you must meet to be protected as a federal whistleblower.
Can My Employer Fire Me for Whistleblowing?
Alabama is one of only a few states to follow the at-will employment doctrine. Under this Doctrine, Alabama employers may discharge an at-will employee’s employment for any reason. Employers can even terminate an employee’s position for a reason that violates public policy. They can also terminate an employee position for no reason unless that reason violates a statutory exception under Alabama law.
Alabama has enacted legislation that provides narrow protection for employers who engage in certain whistleblowing activities. For example, an employee who files a complaint or testifies in age discrimination, child labor, and workers compensation cases is protected from retaliation. Federal laws offer even more protection for employees who engage in qualified whistleblowing. Additionally, if you are subject to a private contract with your employer or your part of a collective bargaining agreement, you may have additional protection from retaliation for whistleblowing.
Alabama’s State Employee Protection Act provides state employees protection for engaging in protected whistleblowing activities. If a state agency employs you, you can report a violation of a “regulation, law, or rule,” and you will be protected from discrimination in your employment. In other words, state employees cannot be fired, demoted, transferred, or otherwise discriminated against for reporting a violation of Alabama law by their employer.
Who is Protected Under Alabama’s Whistleblowing Protection Laws?
As mentioned above, there are three types of whistleblowing lawsuits that are protected from employer retaliation. If you have filed a whistleblowing claim against your employer regarding child labor, age discrimination, or workers’ compensation issues, it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you.
Alabama employers cannot fire or discriminate against an employee in retaliation for opposing any type of unlawful age discrimination. Alabama Law prohibits age discrimination against workers who were 40 years of age or older. If you make a charge, testify, or participate in any type of proceeding regarding age discrimination, you are protected under Alabama Law.
How to File a Whistleblower or Retaliation Claim in Alabama
In Alabama, you will not be able to seek financial recovery through a state agency. You will need to file a lawsuit in the appropriate court for your case. You have two years to file a lawsuit from the date your employer retaliated against you for whistleblowing. It is wise to contact a lawyer as soon as you experience retaliation so your lawyer can begin gathering evidence for your case.
Similarly, your employer cannot discharge you or discriminate against you in retaliation for opposing child labor law violations. If you testify or disclose child labor law violations in an investigation or proceeding, you are protected under Alabama law. Finally, employers cannot discharge employees and retaliation for filing a workers compensation claim. Likewise, employers cannot retaliate against employees for providing written notice of a workplace safety violation rule.
Contact an Alabama Whistleblower Lawyer Today
Whether you plan to become a state or federal whistleblower, you need an experienced attorney on your side. You will need to follow certain procedures to obtain protection as a whistleblower. Depending on the facts in your case, you may be entitled to compensation for becoming a whistleblower. The experienced lawyers at Heninger Garrison Davis have a proven track record of protecting whistleblowers. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation to learn how we will advocate strongly to protect your rights.