Whistleblower Retaliation Claims
New York City Whistleblower Retaliation Attorneys
The law encourages and protects employees who complain about their employer’s unlawful behavior. Consistent with that, it is illegal for an employer to fire an employee or take other adverse action against that employee for complaining about unlawful behavior.
If you believe you have been the victim of whistleblower retaliation or intend to report illegal activities by your employer, the New York whistleblower attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP are here to provide you with practical advice and legal guidance.
What laws protect whistleblowers?
Various federal, state and city statutes protect whistleblowers. The applicable statute depends upon the conduct being complained of.
U.S. Whistleblower Laws
Federal laws exist that encourage whistleblowers to report illegal activities and protect them from retaliation, including:
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank)
Enacted in 2010 after the financial crisis of 2008, Dodd-Frank allows whistleblowers to be awarded up to 30 percent of the proceeds of a legal settlement awarded to the federal government. It covers any individual who provides information to the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to securities fraud,
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX)
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act contains whistleblower protection provisions for individuals who work at publicly traded companies who provide information on, complaint about or assist in investigations relating to certain subjects: about mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, securities fraud, any rule or regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission and any Federal law on shareholder fraud.
Fair Labor Standards Act
The FLSA protects any employee who complains to their employer about his or her pay. This includes complaints about not getting paid overtime, not getting paid the minimum wage, illegal deductions and missed paychecks. An employee sufficiently engages in protected conduct by complaining to his or supervisor about this. A formal lawsuit is not necessary to cross this threshold.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
This is the federal anti-discrimination statute. It accordingly protects employees who complain about being harassed or discriminated against because of their protected status.
New York Labor Laws
New York Labor Law contains the same protections as the Fair Labor Standards Act and also applies to any complaints regarding public safety. Under the FLSA and Labor Law, employers are prohibited from terminating, demoting, suspending, or taking any other adverse employment action against whistleblowers. Additionally, the law does not require an employee to first report the violation to the employer to allow the employer a reasonable opportunity to correct the wrongdoing.
New York State Human Rights Law and New York City Human Rights Law
These statutes make it unlawful for an employer to take any adverse action against an employee who complaints about discrimination or unlawful harassment. It is important that the harassment is unlawful: that the employee was being treated less well because of their protected status.
As you can see, the laws that apply in a specific case depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding the whistleblowing and the unlawful employer conduct. Consulting an experienced New York whistleblower retaliation attorney as soon as possible after the act of retaliation is important. An attorney with experience in employment law can analyze your situation to determine the best way to fight whistleblower retaliation.
What is Retaliation for Being a Whistleblower?
Retaliation for whistleblowing can take several forms. Any adverse action taken by an employer against an employee as punishment for, or to discourage, reporting misconduct is considered to be retaliation. The most obvious form of retaliation against a whistleblower is terminating the individual’s employment.
Other adverse or negative actions that may be considered retaliation include:
- Creating a hostile work environment or allowing a hostile work environment to persist
- Refusing to promote an employee even though he or she is the best choice for the position
- Demoting an employee
- Issuing negative work evaluations that cannot be justified by performance or conduct
- Severely reducing hours without valid reason
- Transferring an employee to a less desirable job
- Decreasing salary or hourly pay rate without justification
- Refusing to acknowledge or act upon a valid workplace complaint
Whistleblower Attorneys in New York — We Fight for Your Right to Speak Up
The experienced New York whistleblower attorneys at Lipsky Lowe are well versed in the applicable federal and state laws governing whistleblower retaliation claims in New York. We also understand the evidence needed to be successful in court. Our legal team provides the direction and legal counsel you need to navigate the complexities of filing a whistleblower retaliation claim. Retaliation claims have very short deadlines and missing a deadline could eliminate your ability to hold your employer responsible for unlawful actions. Call our office today or complete the contact form on our website to discuss your retaliation claim.