Employees that become aware of a serious issue in the workplace have two options: Report it to somebody within the organization or keep the issue to themselves. If you decide not to say anything, you might find yourself carrying the heavy burden of concealing something that should be disclosed. However, if you choose to come forward, you might feel that your job is at risk.
What you might not be aware of is that employment laws in the United States actually protect good-faith efforts by employees that tell the truth about adverse working conditions, such as harassment or discrimination, or illegal or improper actions made by other employees or the management of the organization.
At FBD Law, our Albuquerque whistleblower lawyers understand your concerns and will help guide you through each one of them with the ultimate goal being to protect your rights as an employee and your good name. Call us today at (505) 305-1263 to schedule your confidential consultation, or use the secure online form to get the help of our employment law firm in Albuquerque.
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What Is a Whistleblower?
The term whistleblower is used to refer to an employee that reports unethical conduct that occurs within his/her workplace to an outside agency. It can also be used to refer to an employee that chooses not to participate in unethical conduct or going along with unlawful schemes.
Whistleblowing can concern a broad range of unethical or unlawful conduct, including, but not limited to:
- Employers trying to force employees to engage in political lobbying.
- Reporting unauthorized use of federal funds.
- Reporting suspected criminal activity.
- Reporting corruption including bribery, embezzlement, fraud, and kickbacks.
- Reporting sexual harassment at the workplace.
- Reporting discrimination on the basis of race, ethnic or national origin, or immigrant status.
- Reporting unsafe working conditions to appropriate public officials such as the New Mexico Health and Environment Department, and the Occupational Health and Safety Bureau.
- Reporting over-billing, price-fixing, or billing for services nor provided.
- Reporting false certifications by certifying agencies or educational institutions.
New Mexico’s Whistleblower Protection Act
New Mexico’s Legislature enacted the Whistleblower Protection Act in 2010. The Act applies only to employees of the New Mexico government and was aimed at protecting employees that risk job security for the good of the public by disclosing the improper and unlawful actions of public officials. Since the Whistleblower Protection Act was enacted, it has proven to be a popular and attractive cause of action for disgruntled public employees.
Can An Employer Punish A Whistleblower?
Employers in New Mexico are not legally allowed to retaliate against whistleblowers or employees that report various types of illegal activity. Unlawful employer retaliation includes but is not limited to:
- Denying Promotions or Overtime
- Laying Off or Firing
- Harassment or Intimidation
- Failure to Hire or Rehire
- Making Threats
- Reducing Hours or Pay
- Blacklisting, which refers to intentionally interfering with the ability of the employee to obtain employment in the future.
- Reassignment to a less desirable position or action that may affect prospects for promotion such as the exclusion of the employee from training meetings.
- Constructive discharge, which refers to the employer making working conditions intolerable due to the employee’s protected activity.
- Subtle actions such as mocking, ostracizing, isolating, or falsely accusing the employee of poor performance
Damages For Employer Retaliation
An employee that faces disciplinary action, is fired, or is otherwise treated differently after the said employee complains about the unlawful activity may have the right to sue the employer under the law. If an employer retaliates after taking a whistleblowing action, you are eligible to seek the following damages:
- Back pay, which refers to the benefits and wages lost after being wrongfully fired.
- Front pay, which refers to the benefits and wages needed to cover the time required to find a new job as well as the pay forfeited until you secure a new job.
- Reinstatement, which is to request that the court orders the employer to give you back your job to the whistleblower’s former job.
- Damages for pain and suffering endured.
- Out of pocket losses incurred.
- Attorney’s fees and court costs.
Contact an Albuquerque Whistleblower Lawyer at FBD Law Today
If you know of any fraudulent, unlawful, and improper conduct in your workplace in Albuquerque, NM, you might have the right to significant compensation. FBD Law works hard to protect whistleblowers from retaliation under the relevant statute while proving the extensive participation and evidence of the employer.
If you have information or evidence about fraud perpetrated against a government entity, you need to get in touch with our whistleblower lawyers today by calling our Albuquerque employment law attorneys at (505) 305-1263 or filling out the form provided on our website to schedule your free initial consultation as well as a free evaluation of your potential case.