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Know Your Rights: Your Income is Your Livelihood and You do Have Rights

When you enter your place of work, you should feel comfortable expecting certain principles to be followed regarding ethics and legal practices. These principles apply to clients and employees, and when they are not followed, you have the responsibility to speak up.

You also have rights protecting you against wrongful termination or other forms of retaliation from your employer if you find yourself in the position of having to mak            e a report for unethical or illegal practices. If you were a victim of wrongful termination or are scared to make a report for fear of losing your job, you should know what your rights are to protect your income while still reporting what is going on in your workplace.

What is a “Whistleblower”?

The United States Department of Labor has protection programs in place for what it calls “whistleblowers,” or employees who take  a stand against employers who participate in discriminatory or harassing behaviors or unethical financial practices.

You are protected from “adverse action” from your employer if you “whistleblow.” This means that your employer cannot retaliate against you by firing or laying you off, demoting you, denying you benefits, intimidating or harassing you, or making threats against you. You are covered from them attempting other methods of retaliation as well.

Your Responsibility to Report Employer Misdeeds

If you see something that you perceive as seriously unethical – not an employee simply carting off a few reams of copy paper – you need to report it. However, to ensure you are protected, you need to file a complaint internally with your employer as well as simultaneously with the proper federal agency.

This can include complaints about unethical or illegal financial practices, harassment, assault, and sexual discrimination.

What to do if Your Employer is Attempting Retaliation Against You

If you feel that you are a victim of attempted retaliation because you reported an unethical or illegal workplace violation, you should contact an attorney. Your livelihood is important to you, and you need to do what it takes to protect it. You have rights to do this, and an expert attorney can help you to protect those rights.

Filing for a wrongful termination lawsuit may be the only way that you can complete your ethical responsibilities while still defending your income and job. Most attorneys who are experienced in handling a wrongful termination case will be able to explain your rights to you and also protect those rights in a lawsuit.

What Happens in a Wrongful Termination Case?

Employees who are found to have been wrongfully terminated may be entitled to benefits such as job recovery, back pay, damage for compensation of suffering, and other expenses. Most of these cases can be mediated before they have to go to the courtroom for a civil trial. Settlements and valuation of a wrongful termination claim are usually based on wage loss, lost benefits, and emotional distress and mental anguish.

Many people who pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit are not looking just for compensatory value, however. They choose to push for closure and to keep their previous employer from being able to do the same thing in the future to others.

The guidance of an expert attorney who can assist you to protect your rights can help you through this stressful time. He or she will be able to assist you in understanding what you are entitled to and how to proceed in your wrongful termination lawsuit to ensure you have a fair review of your case.           

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