Everyone plays a role in helping enforce the law, especially behind the closed doors of a company’s facilities. If you notice the company that you work for or specific employees doing something against the law, you have the right to speak up to report that misconduct. Depending on the circumstances, you may want to involve management or report the illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Federal law and Michigan state statutes both extend protections to individuals who serve as whistleblowers. Whistleblowers can call internal attention to an issue at the company or even involve outside regulatory agencies. They should not lose their jobs or face punishment from their employers for doing so.
Despite the protections that exist to prevent employers from retaliating against whistleblowers, most people who notice illegal conduct at work do not report the matter.
Workers fear retaliation
What the law requires and what companies actually do are often two very different things. A lot of businesses will try to bend or break employment laws for convenience. When a worker notices illegal company activity, they’re more likely to stay quiet than to speak up and report the matter.
Experts estimate that only four out of 10 employees who notice illegal behavior at work make an internal or external report about that misconduct. In other words, 60% of the time, workers say nothing, likely out of fear of retaliation from their employer.
If you have spoken up about illegal activity at your work or intend to do so, it is very important that you know your rights. Learning about how whistleblower laws protect you as an employee at a company where someone has broken the law can make you feel more confident about standing up for what is right.