As a worker in Michigan who has noticed something wrong at your place of work and reported it to the proper authorities, you have become what is known as a “whistleblower”. This can be a scary and even potentially dangerous situation to be put in, so it is important to understand what your protections are.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) talks about its whistleblower protection program, designed to keep workers like you safe after you call your company or employers out on the things they were doing that they shouldn’t have been. Unfortunately, though retaliation is illegal, it may still happen if an employer discovers your identity. Whistleblower protection, therefore, acts as a layer of anonymity that keeps your identity safe from discovery. This limits your chances of being retaliated against.
If your identity is known, you still have protection against harassment for blowing the whistle under the law. This discrimination can come in many forms, including but not limited to:
- Denying you promotions, raises or bonuses that you are otherwise qualified for
- Preventing you from excelling in the workplace
- Making it difficult for you to advance
- Participating in bullying behaviors in the office, such as beginning malicious rumors
- Giving you the undesirable work that no one else wants to do specifically out of spite
In some cases, discovered whistleblowers may even be threatened in a way that makes them feel like they should quit. They may even be given an ultimatum to quit or be fired for “unrelated reasons”, when the real reason is tied to you calling them out. If this happens to you, consider looking into how you can protect your rights and handle the situation with legal help.