Those who take a stand by reporting their employer’s legal violations are putting a lot on the line. Although it is not legal to do so, many employers retaliate against whistleblowers, even going so far as to fire them. For those who have been wrongly fired for whistleblowing, consider the following.

Depending on a person’s position — public or private — and the industry involved, different federal or Wisconsin state laws might apply. For example, when workers blow the whistle on their employers for violating certain environmental laws, they are protected under a variety different acts and regulations. These include the Pollution Prevention Act, Clean Air Act, Toxic Substance Control Act and more.

Whistleblowers do more than just raise the alarm about environmental violations at their place of work. Some claims are more general, while others are against a specific individual for sexual harassment. The legal protections for these various complaints might differ slightly, but in general whistleblowers who have experienced retaliation for their actions choose to make a complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration first.

Wisconsin workers should not have to worry about losing their jobs for doing the right thing, but sadly this is the reality that many people face. For those who have been retaliated against and even lost their employment because of whistleblowing, there is help. When pursued to completion, a carefully constructed civil lawsuit can hold discriminatory employers responsible for their actions by securing legal compensation for victims’ damages, such as lost income.