Does your company participate in illegal activities? If so, you may not know what to do next. Blowing the whistle takes courage, especially if you were hired “at-will.” You may be worried about losing your job or facing employer retaliation, but you should know that your rights as a whistleblower are protected through Kentucky’s common law and statutory protections.
Your employer cannot retaliate against you for speaking up about unethical, dangerous or illegal business practices—even if you were hired at-will. This doesn’t mean that they won’t try, however, which is why it would be in your best interest to speak with a Louisville employment lawyer at Biesecker Dutkanych & Macer, LLC if you are thinking about blowing the whistle.
Common Legal Protections for Whistleblowers
If you were hired at-will, your employer can fire you without warning. They do not have to establish cause for termination, as long as it is not based on discrimination or retaliation. That being said, you should know that Kentucky recognizes a public policy exception to at-will employment. If you are fired for speaking up, this would be seen as retaliation.
This would also be a violation of the public policy exception. You cannot be fired for exercising your rights, even if it is not in the best interest of your employer. The same would apply if you exercised your right to collect workers’ compensation benefits. If punitive action is taken against you, you may have the right to sue your employer on the basis of wrongful termination.
Statutory Protections for Whistleblowers
Although they are far more narrow that common law protections, statutory protections prohibit employers from retaliating against their employees when they engage in “protected activities.” These protected activities include filing a complaint or testifying about unethical or illegal business practices. More specifically, you cannot be fired for speaking up about:
- Workplace discrimination
- Minimum wage violations
- Medical assistance fraud
- Safety and health violations
- Wage discrimination
If you were fired for speaking up about illegal business practices, you should discuss your case with a Louisville employment attorney immediately. You must file a lawsuit against your employer within five years of the retaliatory action, unless otherwise specified. This may seem like plenty of time, but you shouldn’t wait until the deadline approaches to take action.
Contact Our Firm for a Free, No-Obligation Consultation
We have been protecting the rights of employees for more than 50 years combined. We only advocate for employees, never for employers, so you can trust that we will have your best interests in mind when you come to our firm for help. Our team is comprised of seasoned litigators who have been honored by prestigious organizations like Martindale-Hubbell®.
Attorneys Ben Aylsworth, Andrew Dutkanych and Kyle Biesecker have also been selected for inclusion on the Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠ list. Find out how we can assist you by calling our firm today for a free consultation. We can not only help you understand your rights, but also fight to ensure that your employer is held accountable for the wrongdoing you have suffered.