The Delaware Whistleblowers’ Protection Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for blowing the whistle. We have all heard the terms “whistleblower” or “blowing the whistle,” but what does that mean?
Whistleblowing is considered “protected activity” under Delaware Law. An employee that reports his or her employer’s conduct is inconsistent with laws designed to protect employees and third parties from health, safety, or environmental damage has engaged in protected activity and cannot be punished for doing so. An employee is protected for reporting this unlawful conduct to the proper outside authorities (e.g., OSHA) or certain individuals within the employer-organization itself. Further, an employee is protected for reporting that individuals within the employer-organization are engaging in financial fraud or misappropriating public or private funds.
“Retaliation” consists of taking adverse action against an employee, such as terminating, demoting, threatening, or transferring the employee. Retaliation can also take the form of creating a hostile work environment to punish the employee. If a whistleblower chooses to resign because his or work environment becomes intolerable, a claim for whistleblowers’ retaliation may exist. Often, retaliation is veiled as discipline for an occurrence unrelated to the whistleblowing itself. If you desire to blow the whistle, it may be beneficial to consult with an employment attorney before doing so to understand your rights and the potential consequences.
Many jurisdictions, like Delaware, have local ordinances that protect whistleblowers from retaliation. To navigate federal, state, and local law – and to choose which claims are most beneficial to protect and/or compensate a whistleblower – requires the assistance of an experienced employment attorney. Contact us for a consultation: