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Common Steps Whistleblowers Take When Filing Claims Against Employers

When an employee alleges that he or she faced retaliation after attempting to report misconduct within your organization, there are a number of protections afforded to that person. There are also several key steps that individual (along with an attorney) are likely to take as the claim proceeds.

These steps include the following:

  • Proving the employee engaged in “protected activity.” “Protected activity” is any form of comments made to an employer or outside body that are protected under whistleblower laws. Some laws require individuals only to report misconduct internally, while others point them directly to a government agency.
  • Proving the employer knew or believed the employee engaged in protected activity. The reason a plaintiff would want to prove this element is that it allows him or her to show the protected activity in question is what motivated any ensuing retaliation. If the employee reported misconduct directly to human resources or a supervisor, he or she may have a strong claim.
  • Proving the employee suffered an adverse action. This adverse action does not necessarily have to be termination from a position. It could be demotion, a less favorable financial position, emotional abuse in the workplace or any other adverse action that clearly results from the employee’s protected activity.
  • Proving a protected activity caused the adverse action. Proving causation is the final element of proving retaliation against an employer. The standards to which the plaintiff must prove causation vary depending on the laws applying to the particular case, but in general, plaintiffs and their lawyers will look at any and all evidence that could be represented as retaliation.

For further guidance on how your company should respond to retaliation claims, contact the experienced Dallas attorneys at Whistleblower Law for Managers.

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  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

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