Whistleblowing is the act of exposing or reporting illegal or unethical actions within or by a company. Often, these reports expose an authority figure or group with power over the reporting employee. These authority figures or supervisors may act in direct response to the whistleblowing by abusing their power and causing a professional—or even personal—hardship for the whistleblower. This is known as retaliation. Retaliation is illegal, according to Indiana and federal laws.
Because work-related hardships like layoffs and rejected promotions happen for numerous reasons, you may find yourself wondering what, specifically, is retaliation. If you have reported company wrongdoings, actions of retaliation can range from subtle to lifechanging. Such actions may include:
- Rejected benefits and promotions
- Failure to rehire
- Threats and intimidation or harassment
- Reduction in pay and working hours
- Demotions or reassignment to a duty that affects promotion opportunities
- Layoffs and firings
- Interference with the employee’s ability to obtain work in the future
Retaliation may come in other forms. Every case comes with its own unique circumstances.
As a whistleblower, am I protected?
Not only are you protected by federal law, but Indiana has its own whistleblower protection unit for those who believe they are victims of retaliation. However, in order to file a claim, you must have the ability to show you engaged in a protected activity, or a whistleblowing report. You must also show that your company or supervisor knew about the report. It is recommended that you seek legal counsel to walk you through such claims and ensure the protection of your rights.