Practice Areas

Whistle Blower Termination

It is against public policy (and therefore illegal) for an Employer to discharge an employee in retaliation for the employee’s protected activity in the interest of public policy. Generally, “protected activity” falls into four categories: (1) refusing to violate a statute; (2) performing a statutory obligation (3) exercising a statutory right or privilege; and (4) reporting an alleged violation of a statute of public importance, commonly know as “blowing the whistle.”

“Whistle blowing” is, perhaps, the most well known form of protected activity: E.g., reporting the employer’s violation of workplace safety laws to OSHA; reporting the employer’s insider trading to the SEC; reporting the employer’s tax violations to the IRS; reporting the employer’s insurance fraud or MediCare fraud to appropriate authorities, etc.

An employee does not have to actually “blow the whistle” to be protected. Simply refusing to participate in illegal conduct is protected. Thus, it would be unlawful for an employer to discharge an employee because they refuse to engage in violations of workplace safety laws, insider trading, tax law violations, insurance fraud, etc.

Likewise, employees are protected when they engage in legally sanctioned conduct, such as making a workers compensation claim, filing a complaint with the labor department about wages and hours violations, filing a complaint with the EEOC about sexual harassment or discrimination, labor union activity, etc.

It’s hard enough to deal with the day-to-day stress of work. No one should lose their job because they are honest and law biding. The Cochran Firm is committed to making employers who break the law pay for the damage they cause to hard-working, honest people.