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Federal laws protect whistleblowers in a Michigan workplace

Your bosses always say they have an open-door policy. Come in and talk about anything that concerns you at any time, they say.

So, when you discover that your department is using substandard parts to make your company's best-selling product, you tell the boss. Soon after, you find that open door slammed in your face.

You're a whistleblower, someone who reports how his or her employer has violated one of any number of laws. While your report potentially could save lives, your employer just might not want you to share what you know with anyone else. You're fired.

And that's not OK in Michigan or anywhere in the United States. There are laws to protect you.

To start, there are a number of federal laws that make it illegal to retaliate against or fire employees for reporting a violation. Those include the Substance Control Act, the Pollution Prevention Act and the Clean Air Act.

If your employer retaliates against you for being a whistleblower, you could file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in some instances. The agency protects activity that has to do with the reporting of violations of laws regarding everything from workplace safety to nuclear safety to pipeline safety to railroad carrier safety to corporate fraud to asbestos in schools.

You shouldn't have to be afraid to report serious issues in your workplace, but many people are. Should you find yourself out of work because you reported a violation of law, a lawyer who frequently works on employment cases can help. You could be helped by guidance on the strategies to get your job back, plus how to recoup lost wages or missed benefits.

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