A whistleblower is a person that reports misconduct or wrongdoing within an organization. Whistleblowers come forward for a variety of reasons and may be internal or external to the organization. Things like fraud, corruption, legal/regulation violations and public interest are common causes of whistleblowing.
Whistleblowers are often subject to a “hostile work environment“ or retaliation. This can range from uneasy workplace relations, harassment, or more severe forms of intimidation.
The Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess have done a wide range of work dealing with whistleblower protection. If you or someone you know faced retaliation for whistleblowing, please contact our law offices by filling out the form on the left side of the screen or call us at 1-877-234-7573. Remember, all calls are confidential.
There is a general state statute that covers whistleblowing for all employers. Under this statute, it is illegal for any employer to retaliate against or fire employees who report workplace activities that violate state law. The categories of workplace misconduct are wide-ranging and can cover things like financial mismanagement, fraudulent practices, safety code abuses, or violations of anti-discrimination workplace laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In order to be covered under Louisiana law, an employee must tell the employer about the workplace violation before reporting the incident to a governmental agency.
Damages that are covered under general whistleblower suits include back pay, benefits, reinstatement, reasonable attorney fees, and court costs resulting from a lawsuit.
Other Covered Classes:
Under federal law, individual workers may be entitled to more protections if they are part of a worker’s union or contracted group. Louisiana’s covered classes are as follows:
- State Employees: Louisiana state employees and contractors are entitled to a general protection statute. This means that a state employee is protected from retaliation when testifying against their employer for violating federal or state law, filing a complaint against their employer, or for refusing to participate in illegal activity.
- Health Care Employees: Health care workers are protected from employer retaliation when they are aiding or communicating with the Department of Hospitals.
- Environmental Regulations: Environmental whistleblowers are protected for disclosing (or threatening to disclose) violations of state and local environmental laws or regulations. To fall under these protections, the disclosure must be made to the public or to a supervisor. They are also protected when providing testimony or information used in an investigation into environmental violations. It is also illegal for a company to punish or fire an employee for reporting another company for environmental regulation violations.
- Insurers: Employees of insurance companies are protected from retaliation if they are reporting violations (or suspected violations) of state insurance law. In order to get whistleblower protection, an insurer employee must communicate with the Commissioner of Insurance or other authorities.