One of the most difficult decisions you may ever have to face is turning your employer in for violations of legal or industry standards to the appropriate authority in Charleston. Your hesitancy may not even come from a question of the legitimacy of your claim, but rather the fear that doing so could cost you your job (if it were discovered that you were the one to blow the whistle). Yet authorities want to know when companies are acting inappropriately, and they realize that the best way to discover violations is to learn of them from the employees themselves. Thus, laws have been enacted to protect you when you do report violations made by your employer.
Per Section 6C-1-3 of the West Virginia Code, if you make a good faith report concerning potential regulatory compliance violations by your employer to an authoritative body, your employer is prohibited from taking any of the following actions against you:
- Firing you
- Demoting you
- Lowering your pay
- Changing your work location
Your employer also cannot use the threat of any of the aforementioned actions to deter you from testifying or participating in any investigations that are perceived to be against it.
If you are disciplined for being a whistleblower and the court finds in your favor in any subsequent action, it may order that you be returned to your previous position at the same compensation and with access to the same benefits and seniority rights you had before. Your employer may also be ordered to pay you damages and to cover your legal costs.
An important thing to remember, however, is that your employer may be justified in disciplining you around the same time you undertake a whistleblower action if it can show the discipline was due to unrelated matters.