There are a number of different federal laws that protect whistleblowers depending on the industry or branch of government. Yet even with these laws available, some people will feel better protected from employer retaliation if their state specifically protects whistleblowers. Like many states, Michigan possesses its own whistleblower law on the books.
The text of The Whistleblowers’ Protection Act specifies that employers are prevented from retaliating or discriminating against an employee if that employee has reported that an employer has violated some aspect of the law. This protection also extends to an employee if he or she has not yet reported wrongdoing but is about to do so. This law also extends protection if someone reports an infraction on behalf of the employee.
The law specifies aspects of employment that an employer cannot threaten if an employee engages in whistleblowing actions. These include the following:
- The privileges of being employed
- Compensation of the employee
- Terms and conditions of employment
- The place where the person is employed
The Whistleblowers’ Protection Act also has a timeframe for bringing a civil suit in response to retaliatory actions on the part of an employer. Under Michigan law, a person is empowered to seek civil remedy in court, by seeking actual damages, injunctive relief, or both within a period of 90 days following the retaliatory or discriminatory action. So if retaliation is suspected, it is important not to wait too long before examining legal options.
Even with a state whistleblowing law available, some whistleblowers may still prefer to litigate under a federal whistleblowing law that governs their particular industry, with the appropriate counsel of a professional attorney. Since people may find evidence of wrongdoing in many different professions, the information presented here should not be interpreted as legal advice for any case.