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Understanding whistleblower protections

Employees in Iowa and elsewhere do not expect to observe or experience uncomfortable or illegal situations. Unfortunately, some employees are asked to carry out activities that are in violation of rules, regulations and laws, and in other situations, employees observe or uncover these illegal acts. This can be the cause of an unwanted and overwhelming situation because an employee is torn on what he or she should do. The ultimate fear is that if an employee speaks out, reporting the information he or she has uncovered, the employee will be fired.

It is important to note that when employees report an employer for an illegal act or violation, he or she is protected for blowing the whistle on his or her employer. Whistleblower protections were established so employees would feel comfortable reporting violations in the workplace. This also reduced the fear of termination and retaliation by an employer.

Even if an employer does act in retaliation because an employee filed a complaint base don the violations he or she observed, these laws protect the whistleblower. So long as an employee made a good-faith claim that an employer was violating the law, the employee is protected even if it is later discovered that the employer was in fact in compliance with these laws.

If an employee believes that they have been retaliated against for filing a complaint, the employee has the right to assert their whistleblower protection rights. This action not only helps penalize an employer for retaliating against the employee for blowing the whistle, it is also a way for an employee to recover compensation for the damages and losses suffered in the matter.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Whistleblower Protections," Accessed Oct. 1, 2017

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