Whistleblowing Versus Retaliation: What’s the Difference?

You Have Rights As A Worker. I Will Help Protect Them.
The Kaufman Law FirmFebruary 17, 2021Whistleblower

The workplace can feel like a warm cozy cabin in the woods or a volatile landscape of land mines and drones. Okay, maybe that’s hyperbole, but workplaces can create challenging dilemmas that often feel like a war zone in your head. You know what is right, but should you risk everything you have accomplished to correct what is wrong? Our Whistleblower Attorneys at The Kaufman Law Firm in Thousand Oaks want you to know that you have rights. As an employee, you have legal rights that protect your work, your legacy. We are here to help you understand those legal rights and protect you from further harm.

What is the Difference?

People who aren’t familiar with the law may feel inclined to interchange these two words: whistleblower and retaliation. It makes sense to do that because retaliation is often what happens after an employee whistle blows. However, it is more nuanced. A whistleblower reports on waste, fraud, abuse, corruption, or danger to public health and safety within the workplace. Often a whistleblower works within the company or organization. However, a whistleblower can be an outsider who has information to support a claim about a company/organization and tells it to someone who can rectify the wrong.

A whistleblower has legal protections to encourage people to speak out against wrongdoings in their company or organization. Whistleblowers are essential in maintaining the health of the government, economy, and general public. They are the reason we know about scandals like Watergate or the dangers of nicotine.

Retaliation is different. Retaliation is when an employer fires an employee or takes any reprimand action against an employee for practicing protected activity. For example, if an employee is feeling harassed at work, she should tell HR without worrying about getting fired. If she gets fired, she can sue for retaliation because an employer punishes her for a right as an employee to file a complaint. The slight difference between the two is that retaliation occurs to the person who is feeling the injury. Sometimes the punishment isn’t as harsh as firing. Sometimes retaliation looks like getting demoted, changing work hours, or transferred to a less desirable place or position.

Know Your Rights for Whistleblowing

If you suspect something is off in your company or organization, know your rights. You have the right to speak out without fear of losing your job or your reputation. Our Whistleblower Attorneys at The Kaufman Law Firm in Thousand Oaks are here to give you a better understanding of your options in your situation. It takes a strong person to fight against injustice. It takes a brave person to act when there is something wrong. We are here to support your decision and fiercely advocate for you after any fallout. To learn more, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 818-990-1999.

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