Blowing the whistle on the unlawful actions of an employer may come with risks, including losing your job in retaliation. Although it still occurs, state and federal employment laws prohibit the wrongful termination of a whistleblower.
As a whistleblower, you may suddenly find yourself unemployed and having a difficult time securing a new position with another company. If your public disclosure of an employer’s wrongdoing becomes newsworthy, potential hiring managers may hesitate to call you in for an interview.
As a result of the internet, an unflattering online presence could draw attention to you in a negative light. You might even find yourself wishing you were back in your former job while you begin to have doubts about the importance of your actions.
How may a lawsuit help?
Filing a legal action against a former employer that fired you in retaliation may help you to return to your former position. While wrongful termination lawsuits generally seek compensation for back wages and lost benefits, plaintiffs may also request to have their former job back.
When an employer violates state and federal labor laws, it is not uncommon for the court to order the organization to reinstate a wrongfully terminated employee in their former position. If the position no longer exists, the employer may need to find a comparable one with similar duties and at the same salary.
Is reinstatement common in Michigan?
After a Michigan high school janitor blew the whistle on unsafe environmental conditions, he found himself terminated by the school district. When an investigation determined he filed an accurate complaint regarding the school’s pesticide and asbestos hazards, his former employer had to reinstate his position, as reported by Insurance Journal magazine. The janitor’s remedies included whistleblower compensation, back wages and damages.