Retaliation / Whistleblower

The Michigan Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) makes it unlawful for an employer to retaliate against any employee who stands up and reports workplace discrimination.  Employees are further protected from being fired or demoted simply because they filed a charge or complaint with their employer or the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (www.michigan.gov/mdcr).  This includes participating in an investigation or testifying in a hearing.

If you report discrimination, you are protected from being fired, demoted or subject to any other adverse consequence as a result of your report.  In fact, the United States Supreme Court has even recognized that if you are given an undesirable or unreasonably demanding work assignment because you reported discrimination on the job, your employer can be held liable for retaliation.

In addition to protections given to employees under the ELCRA, employees are also protected from discharge or discrimination because they have reported or are about to report a violation, or suspected violation, of any state or federal law or regulation to any public body (i.e., a state agency or department).  This is referred to as a “Whistleblower” claim.   The Whistleblowers’ Protection Act (WPA) allows for the following where a violation has occurred:

  • Reinstatement of the employee;
  • Payment of back wages;
  • Full reinstatement of fringe benefits and seniority rights;
  • Actual damages; and
  • Attorney fees.

It is important to note that while the statute of limitations on a retaliation claim is three (3)  years, a whistleblower claim must be filed within 90 days of the occurrence of the alleged violation.  So if you have been retaliated against, demoted or terminated because you either opposed discrimination at your job or reported your company to a state or federal agency, call Vince Colella, an experienced and aggressive attorney who has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of Michigan’s workers, toll free at 1.800.MUSTWIN or at 248.945.0100.

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