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Sterling Employment Law

Clarifying elements of the Michigan Whistleblowers Act

On the face of it, the Michigan Whistleblower's Protection Act seems simple and straight-forward. For the most part, it is simple, but many potential whistleblowers need clarification on some of the act's elements. Those who do not properly understand the act might choose to remain silent in the face of wrong-doing despite the protection's the act provides.

First, if you or someone you know is thinking about blowing the whistle, you should understand that consulting with a lawyer is the most accurate way to understand the Act in full. An attorney can use familiar language and terminology to explain some of its more complex aspects. In the interim, the sections below can more keenly define two important elements of the act.

Protected Activities: Whistleblowers have protection under the law for reporting unlawful and unethical activities. This means that employers and coworkers cannot threaten you, harass you, discriminate against you or otherwise engage in retaliatory actions against you for your involvement in a whistleblower report or investigation.

Termination of a Whistleblower: Obviously, an employer cannot fire you for your involvement in whistleblower activities. As long as your employer knows about the report and you have continued to perform your job duties, your termination will likely be investigated. In other words, if you report illegal activity and are suddenly fired from your job, your employer will need a really good reason for the termination and will have to document this reason.

Blowing the whistle on wrongdoing in any work setting is a frightening step. It is wise to research the Michigan Whistleblower's Protection Act carefully so that you can avoid any missteps while protecting yourself against retaliation. As stated above, an employment law attorney is an excellent source of information, protection and advocacy.

Source: Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority, "Michigan Whistleblower's Protection Act, Guidelines," accessed May 12, 2017

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