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Can your employer demand that you break the law at work?

On Behalf of | May 2, 2022 | Whistleblowers |

You typically have to do whatever your employer tells you to do while on the clock, as long as their requests do not violate your rights or the law. Employment laws generally don’t give you the right to pick and choose your job responsibilities unless your contract gives you that authority.

Employers can ask you to work overtime. They can transfer you to a new facility or a different department. They can demote you if they are unhappy with your job performance. However, your employer cannot compel you to break the law, nor can the company penalize you if you refuse to break the law when they ask you to do so or if you report the illegal activity you witness.

Speaking up makes you a whistleblower

When someone stands up against illegal activity at their place of employment, they become a whistleblower. Whistleblowers help companies address internal corruption. They can initiate federal investigations into fraud, conspiracy and other criminal schemes.

Whistleblowers often speak up at risk to their own careers, which is why there are federal laws that protect people who report their employers for misconduct. You have protection from retaliation by your employer if you refuse to break the law or report illegal activity occurring at your place of employment.

Your employer should not punish you for speaking up, reporting the business to enforcement agencies or refusing to violate the law. Workers who get demoted, fired or transferred because of their actions as a whistleblower may have grounds to take action against their employer.

Learning more about whistleblower retaliation and employment laws can help you stand up to misconduct in your workplace and protect your rights.


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