Anyone considering reporting a workplace violation should know that the law is on their side. There are many legal protections the government offers, including to those who report their employer for illegal activity and rights violations.
With these protections in place, a whistleblower can file a claim against their employer for retaliating against them for reporting anything. In order to file a claim, the whistleblower first needs to be able to identify retaliation. Here are a few examples of what workplace retaliation can look like:
While not everyone can earn a promotion or go on a fun work trip, it can be a problem if your employer denies you because you engaged in legally protected activities. Your employer may claim that another candidate was more suited for the promotion, but it may be a form of retaliation if you were more qualified.
It is rare for an employer to openly admit that they are retaliating against you, so they may find more subtle ways to do it instead. For example, your employer may change your work schedule to more difficult times that do not work with your schedule. They may also have you take on additional tasks that can be physically challenging or laborious or reduce your hours to a level where you need to quit and find a new job.
Michigan is an “at-will” employment state, meaning that an employer can fire you for any reason, as long as the reason does not infringe against your legal protections. After reporting a violation, your employer may try to claim that they are letting you go because of budget issues or something else. Still, if the termination was immediately following your report, it is more likely because of retaliation.
How can you prove your retaliation?
Recognizing workplace retaliation and proving it are two very different things. If you suspect you are the victim of retaliation, consult with an employment attorney immediately. They can help review your situation and determine if you have grounds for a claim against your employer.