Employees in Hawaii who witness illegal business activities can report the incident to the business’s executives or an authoritative group like OSHA or the SEC. Employees who report these incidents are referred to as whistleblowers and are granted various protections under subsets of both federal and state protection laws.
Firing is illegal
A multitude of federal laws address illegal retaliation practices of businesses in regards to whistleblower complaints. Some of the most well-known include the Toxic Substance Control Act, the Clean Air Act and the Pollution Prevention Act. All of these laws make it illegal for an employer to fire an employee for the act of whistleblowing.
What to do if you’ve been fired
While it may be illegal for an employer to fire you because of whistleblowing, they may still proceed to do so. If you’ve been fired for whistleblowing, you need to act swiftly to assert your rights. It’s important to realize that you have a finite time period for filing your retaliation complaint with OSHA. If you don’t meet the filing deadline, you essentially give up your right to take legal action against your former employer.
One of the best steps that you can initially take after being fired out of retaliation for a whistleblower complaint is to speak with an attorney. Employment law is a big field, and trying to understand what your rights are can be overwhelming. A knowledgeable attorney may be able to explain your rights to you and walk you through the complaint process.
Whistleblowing is a legally protected activity that employees should be able to participate in without any fear of retaliation from their employer. Unfortunately, sometimes employers will unlawfully retaliate against whistleblower employees. In these instances, it’s vital that the employee file a timely complaint with OSHA.