If your employer demonstrates any discriminatory or illegal behavior, it is your right to let it be heard. You and other workers in your company deserve to work in a healthy environment devoid of any abusive or violative behavior.
However, you might be afraid to speak up because you fear possible retaliation from your employer. Even if your intention was to make the workplace better, your employer could unfairly punish you for speaking negatively about them. Many people fear retaliation because it damages your career.
Here are a few examples of common, but illegal, practices:
They can fire you.
Even though there is nothing in the law prohibiting you from bringing up concerns over your employer’s behavior and actions, your boss could see you as a threat and not want you under their employment. This tends to be the primary concern most potential whistleblowers have. Despite the problems with the workplace, many want to keep their jobs and just want to see improvement in management.
They can give you a bad review.
Negative performance reviews have severe consequences on your current job and potential future positions. Whether you are trying to upgrade in the company or are trying to get a new job, hiring managers will be more hesitant towards having you on their team after a negative review in response to your whistleblowing.
They can make your job even worse.
As the employer has control over several aspects of your position, your job may get more difficult if you are not fired. They can make you work an inconvenient schedule, give you harder tasks, decrease your work hours and turn your coworkers against you. They know that if you choose to stay after enduring all this that you really need or want to continue working at the place.
Is protection available?
Your co-workers are not the only ones you can speak to about employer issues. By filing a complaint to the government about your employer’s violations and retaliations, you could be eligible to receive help from the California Whistleblower Protection Act. Not only can the Act protect you from these retaliations, but the government will perform a confidential investigation into the matter. Be very specific with the State Auditor of who your employer is and what they are guilty of to receive proper protection.
If you experience any form of retaliation from your employer or boss, then you may also be eligible to file a claim. It will allow you to receive compensation for any financial or reputational damages you received from the employer’s actions. It is important to know your rights and your freedom to speak up so you and other workers can voice concerns over improper management without worrying about career consequences.