Imagine that one day at work, you discover that your superior has been engaged in some nefarious or illegal activity. Maybe your superior was tampering with the finances of the company; maybe he ors he was forging documents; maybe there was an inappropriate relationship that came to light. Whatever the case may be, you know in your heart that it is wrong and that you need to tell someone so that the situation can be corrected or dealt with.
That isn't an easy situation to be in. The messenger, as it were, often doesn't fare too well in these situations (as the saying tells us). Telling people above your superior or the necessary authoritative department shouldn't put you at risk, but it could. Your employers could turn your noble, honorable act into a reason to fire you. Whistleblower claims often have this tinge to them, and it is illegal for any employer to retaliate against a whistleblower.
A recent case in Virginia shows that whistleblowers, though they may unfairly treated, can have their day in court and earn the justice they deserve.
A lab researcher at the University of Virginia was let go just a month after he reported to university officials that his supervisor manipulated time records on the project they were working on to reflect more work than they had performed. This was to increase the funding given to them by their grant.
The researcher filed a whistleblower claim against his supervisors and recently won an $800,000 judgment, which encompasses non-economic damages and awards that took into account any potential future pay the plaintiff would have received if had been retained.
The defendants tried to paint the plaintiff as a selfish, lazy person and as an all-around poor employee. This is a typical tactic in whistleblower claims, as the defendants desperately try to defame the character of their accuser, rather than deal with the issue at hand. Knowing this is coming, you and your employment law representative can easily defend your case and get earn you the compensatory ruling you deserve.
Source: Cavalier Daily, "Whistleblower wins unfair contract termination suit," Jordan Bower, Oct. 17, 2012
- Laws at the local and federal level protect employees from unfair consequences related to their whistleblowing. To learn more, please visit our Houston retaliation page.