At the Law Office of Robert B. Landry III PLC, we understand the importance of holding employers accountable and protecting the rights of those who expose wrongdoing in the workplace. Whistleblowers play a vital role in ensuring transparency and accountability and should be shielded from any retaliation that may follow their brave actions.
Whistleblower retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee who has reported illegal activities, fraud, safety concerns, regulatory violations, or other unethical practices within the organization. Such retaliation can take various forms, including termination, demotion, harassment, or even creating a hostile workplace.
Our experienced team is dedicated to representing and defending the rights of whistleblowers throughout Louisiana. If you find yourself facing workplace retaliation after bravely speaking out against wrongdoing, speak to a whistleblower protection attorney at our firm today.
Why Hire Us for Your Louisiana Whistleblower Retaliation Claim?
At the Law Office of Robert B. Landry III PLC, we understand that every whistleblower retaliation case is unique. During your initial consultation, we will thoroughly evaluate your claim to assess its strengths and weaknesses. We will also listen to your story, review the evidence, and determine the best course of action to protect your rights and seek the justice you deserve.
When you work with our law firm, you benefit from the following:
- Solid Advice on Whistleblower Laws: Attorney Landry and his team are well-versed in the relevant federal and Louisiana state laws that safeguard whistleblowers. We will advise you on your rights, the protections available to you, and the steps to take to ensure your claim is properly filed and pursued.
- Help Collecting Evidence: Gathering compelling evidence is crucial to building a strong whistleblower retaliation case. We will work closely with you to help gather and preserve all relevant documentation and evidence of workplace retaliation, including emails, memos, performance evaluations, witness statements, and any other crucial information that can support your claim.
- Negotiation with Your Employer: Our goal is to protect your best interests and seek fair compensation for the harm you have suffered. When appropriate, we will negotiate with your employer or their representatives to pursue a fair settlement. We will advocate fiercely on your behalf to ensure your rights are upheld during the negotiation process.
- Representation in Court: If a fair settlement can’t be reached, we are fully prepared to take your case to court. Robert B. Landry III will meticulously prepare your case, put together the most effective legal arguments, and provide strong representation throughout the litigation process.
If you have faced retaliation for speaking out, contact our office today for a confidential consultation. Let us stand with you, protect your rights, and help you get the most favorable outcome for your case.
Whistleblower Protection Laws- an Overview
Federal law entrusts the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with the responsibility of enforcing the whistleblower protection provisions of over 20 federal statutes. They include the following:
- Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act
- Occupational Safety & Health Act
- Toxic Substances Control Act
- Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act
Louisiana state law provides additional legal protection and relief from whistleblower retaliation. Louisiana Revised Statute section 23:967 states that whistleblowers who face retaliation from their employers have the right to seek compensation. This compensation may include damages, reasonable attorney fees, and court costs.
Louisiana also has an environmental whistleblower statute that protects employees who report their employer for breaching environmental regulations. The protection extends even if an investigation finds the company not guilty of violating any environmental laws. In such cases, as long as an employee possesses a reasonable belief that the company is engaging in environmental violations, they remain protected under the statute.
Examples of Whistleblower Retaliation
Despite the many laws protecting whistleblowers, some employers take retaliatory measures to discourage employees from speaking out. These actions can have a severe impact on the whistleblower’s career, financial stability, and emotional well-being. Below are some common examples of retaliation:
- Termination or Demotion: One of the most severe forms of retaliation is outright termination or demotion of the whistleblower. After unlawful behavior has been exposed, some employers may take vindictive measures leading to the whistleblower losing their job or being demoted to a lower position, often based on alleged poor performance.
- Harassment and Intimidation: Employers may subject workers to harassment, intimidation, or threats to discourage them from pursuing their whistleblower claims. This can include verbal abuse, bullying, or creating a hostile work environment, making it difficult for the whistleblower to perform their job effectively.
- Reducing Pay or Benefits: Retaliatory employers might attempt to harm the whistleblower financially by reducing their salary, bonuses, or benefits, causing financial stress and instability for the individual and their family.
- Assigning Undesirable Tasks or Schedules: Whistleblowers may find themselves assigned to undesirable tasks or schedules as a form of retaliation. This tactic is aimed at making their work environment challenging and uncomfortable.
- Negative Performance Reviews: Employers may unjustly provide negative performance reviews to whistleblowers, even when their job performance was satisfactory before the disclosure. This can hinder career advancement and damage their professional reputation.
- Blacklisting or Isolation in the Workplace: In some cases, employers may attempt to blacklist the whistleblower, making it difficult for them to find new job opportunities within their industry. Additionally, they may isolate the whistleblower from colleagues, limiting their interactions and making them feel isolated and excluded.
How to File Suit for Whistleblower Retaliation in Louisiana
If you believe that your employer is retaliating against you for speaking out, start collecting supporting evidence right away. This may include emails, documents, witness statements, or any other proof that your employer took negative actions against you for whistleblowing.
Once you’ve assembled evidence, speak with a qualified Louisiana whistleblower retaliation lawyer who can assess the strength of your case, guide you through the process, and protect your rights. For example:
- In some cases, you may be required to exhaust administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit. If you’re reporting an environmental concern, for example, the disclosure is protected only if made to a supervisor or to a public body.
- In other cases, specific deadlines may be involved. For example, in Louisiana, the lawsuit must be filed within the one-year prescriptive period (statute of limitations) while a claim under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act must be made within 180 days of the retaliation.
By getting legal advice as soon as possible, you can give your whistleblower retaliation claim the best chance of success.
Damages for Whistleblower Retaliation
Whistleblower lawsuit retaliation can have devastating consequences on your finances, career, and well-being. Fortunately, state and federal law provides avenues for whistleblowers to seek compensation and redress for any harm they have endured. Here are some of the damages that may be available in your case:
- Back Pay and Lost Wages: This includes the salary and benefits you would have earned had you not been subjected to retaliation. If the retaliation resulted in your termination or demotion, you may be entitled to receive compensation for the wages you would have earned from the date of the adverse action until the resolution of the case.
- Reinstatement or Promotion: In cases where your employment was wrongfully terminated or demoted due to retaliation, the law may provide for reinstatement to your former position or a similar one. Alternatively, you may be entitled to a promotion or advancement you were denied as a result of retaliation.
- Compensatory Damages for Emotional Distress: Whistleblower retaliation can cause significant emotional distress, anxiety, and other forms of mental anguish. In certain cases, you may be awarded compensatory damages for the emotional harm you experienced as a result of the retaliation.
- Punitive Damages for Employer Misconduct: In some instances, if the employer’s actions are found to be particularly egregious or malicious, the court may award punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish the employer for their wrongful conduct and deter others from engaging in similar retaliatory actions.
- Legal Costs: Whistleblowers who prevail in their retaliation lawsuit may be entitled to recover their attorney’s fees and other legal costs incurred. This provision encourages whistleblowers to come forward without fear of financial burden, as they can seek reimbursement of their legal expenses if their case is successful.
How Do I Prove I Was Fired for Whistleblowing?
Generally speaking, few employers will openly admit that you’re being fired for reporting them. Instead, the reason given (if any) will usually be vague and connect to some other alleged shortcoming. Here are the key elements to consider when proving whistleblower retaliation:
Were You Engaging in Protected Activity?
To prove whistleblower retaliation, you must demonstrate that you engaged in “protected activity.” This means disclosing unlawful or unethical activities by your employer to the government or another overseeing entity. The protected activity could include reporting fraud, safety and legal violations, discrimination, or any other illegal conduct within the organization.
Was There Adverse Employment Action?
The next element is showing that your employer subjected you to some form of retaliatory or adverse action. This could take the form of wrongful termination, demotion, reduced pay, loss of benefits, negative performance reviews, unfavorable job assignments, or any action that significantly impacts your employment.
Does It Pass the Materiality Test?
The materiality test is used to assess whether the adverse employment action had a substantial impact on your employment. It involves considering whether the action affected your pay, benefits, job opportunities, responsibilities, or any other crucial aspect of your job.
Is There a Causal Link?
Proving a direct causal link between your protected activity and the adverse employment action can be challenging, as employers rarely admit to retaliation explicitly. However, you can present circumstantial evidence to support your claim. For instance, if you were fired shortly after blowing the whistle, the timing can be used as evidence of a causal link between your whistleblowing and the termination.
Do You Have Supporting Evidence?
Gathering strong evidence is crucial to support your claim of retaliation. This may include any documentation that demonstrates your protected activity and subsequent adverse action.
Do I Really Need a Whistleblower Attorney? Can’t I Take Legal Action on My Own?
While it is possible to file a retaliation claim on your own, having legal counsel can significantly enhance your chances of success. Whistleblower retaliation cases can be challenging, involving complicated legal procedures and nuanced interpretations of state and federal laws. Here are some reasons why hiring a whistleblower lawyer is highly advisable:
- An experienced lawyer can help you understand your rights, the protections available to you, and the legal avenues to pursue.
- Proving retaliation often requires gathering compelling evidence, documents, and witness statements. An experienced attorney can guide you in collecting and organizing this evidence to strengthen your case.
- There are specific deadlines and procedural requirements for filing a retaliation claim. Missing deadlines or failing to meet certain criteria can result in the dismissal of your case. A whistleblower attorney will ensure all necessary paperwork is submitted on time and according to legal standards.
- A skilled attorney can represent your interests during negotiations with your employer or their legal representatives. They can strive to achieve a fair settlement that compensates you for your losses and protects your rights.
- If your case proceeds to court, having an employment lawyer with trial experience can be invaluable. They will be well-prepared to present your case persuasively before a judge and jury.
Having legal representation sends a message to your employer that you are serious about your claim. It may also discourage further retaliation, as employers are less likely to act unlawfully when they know you have legal support.
Questions? Speak to a Louisiana Whistleblower Retaliation Lawyer
At the Law Office of Robert B. Landry III PLC, we are committed to upholding the rights of whistleblowers and ensuring they are protected from retaliation. Whistleblowers play a crucial role in promoting transparency and accountability in the workplace, and we believe they deserve unwavering support and legal representation.
If you are a victim of whistleblower retaliation, do not hesitate to reach out to us for a confidential consultation. To schedule a consultation, call 225-349-7460 or use our online contact form. Let us be your advocate and ally as you seek to protect your rights and pursue a favorable outcome for your case.