Can I Protect My Job If I Report My Employer for Illegal Activities?

Mar 16, 2023 — by Chris Olsen
Tags: Retaliation Protected Activities Wrongful Termination Defamation

Can I Report Illegal Activities by My Employer Without Getting Fired? 

This is one of those questions that have the ideal-legal answer and a more practical, real life response. Under the law, you have a right to report an employer's illegal activities without fear of retaliation. That's the ideal under the law. But in real life, if you discover that your employer is engaged in unlawful activities, then repoting your employer could put your job at risk, and you may face retaliation from your employer. Keep in mind that your employer is likely not stupid enough to tell you that the reason you're being termianted is because you engaged in a protected activity such as reporting illegal acts. Instead, what your employer will do is terminate you for some other reason--any other reason, incluidng no reason. While this doesn't stop them from wronfully terminating you--and it certainly won't prevent you from filing a retaliation/wrongful termiantion case--it does give them a theory to build with evidence. Finally, if they knowingly lie about your work performance, then you may also have a claim for defamation. 

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your job:

  1. Document everything: Keep detailed records of any unlawful activities you witness, including dates, times, and specific incidents. This documentation can be valuable evidence if you need to take legal action or report the activities to authorities.

  2. Report it internally: Consider reporting the unlawful activities to your employer's internal compliance or legal team. This may give your employer the opportunity to correct the problem before it becomes public or attracts the attention of outside authorities.

  3. Consult an attorney: Consider speaking with an attorney who specializes in employment law. They can advise you on your legal rights and help you understand the potential risks and consequences of reporting your employer's unlawful activities.

  4. Report it to the appropriate authorities: If your employer is engaged in criminal activity, such as fraud or embezzlement, you may need to report the activity to law enforcement or regulatory authorities. In many cases, there are whistleblower protections in place to protect employees who report unlawful activities.

  5. Protect yourself from retaliation: If you believe that your employer may retaliate against you for reporting unlawful activities, you may want to take steps to protect yourself. This could include documenting any retaliatory actions, notifying your attorney, or seeking legal remedies if necessary.

It is important to remember that whistleblowers are protected by law from retaliation by their employers. If you believe you have been retaliated against for reporting unlawful activities, you may have legal recourse.

About Olsen Law Offices, APC: Olsen Law Offices specializes in employment litigation in all areas of employment law. Olsen Law Offices has extensive experience litigating matters concerning wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment and hostile work environment, workplace defamation, gender discrimination, race discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, and disability discrimination. Moreover, Olsen Law Offices has extensive experience in wage and hour cases as single-employee cases, class actions, and actions under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”). 

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