Whistleblower Legal Services
Workplace retaliation occurs when an employer punishes an employee for making discrimination, harassment, equal pay or whistleblower complaints, or for taking part in a workplace investigation. All these activities are protected under the law as long the complaints are made in good faith.
Retaliation can include demotion, discipline, firing, salary reduction, job reassignment, or shift change. More subtle forms of retaliation include papering an employee’s file with bad evaluations to create a pretext for firing. In 2020, Virginia law added a new species of claim for employees who have been discriminated against, punished, or retaliated against for “whistleblowing.” Under the statute, an employer shall not discharge, discipline, threaten, discriminate against, or penalize an employee, or take other retaliatory action regarding an employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment, because the employee:
- Or a person acting on behalf of the employee in good faith reports a violation of any federal or state law or regulation to a supervisor or to any governmental body or law-enforcement official;
- Is requested by a governmental body or law-enforcement official to participate in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry;
- Refuses to engage in a criminal act that would subject the employee to criminal liability;
- Refuses an employer’s order to perform an action that violates any federal or state law or regulation and the employee informs the employer that the order is being refused for that reason; or
- Provides information to or testifies before any governmental body or law-enforcement official conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry into any alleged violation by the employer of federal or state law or regulation.
- This protection does not extend so far as to allow an employee to disclose privileged or secret data that is protected by law, or to act in bad faith to disclose information, or to make false statements, or to violate another person’s right to confidentiality.
The remedies available to a person who has been injured by their employer in violation of this section include an injunction to stop the employer from continuing to violate this section, reinstating the employee to the same or equivalent position, compensation for lost wages and benefits, plus interest, and reasonable attorney fees and costs. A lawsuit based on a violation of whistleblower protection must be brought within a year of the employer’s retaliatory act.
Every claim is governed by a statute of limitations, some of which are very short. You should always act promptly on your claim because once the statute of limitation expires, the claim is gone forever.