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Don’t let employee’s whistleblower status dissuade you from legitimate discipline

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in Employment Law,HR Management,Human Resources

When employees are disciplined for rule violations and fear they might be fired, they may try to find a way to stop the expected punishment. A worker might, for example, raise a safety issue and then claim whistleblower status.

How should an employer respond to such a scenario? Certainly, you must investigate the safety problem and fix it if it turns out to be valid.

However, you should continue the disciplinary process, just as you would for any employee. Becoming a whistleblower doesn’t confer protection from legitimate discipline.

To win a retaliation case, the worker would have to prove that the discipline was motivated by a desire to punish him or her for making the report. That’s unlikely to succeed if 1) the discipline began before the safety problem was reported or 2) it is clear that any other worker would have been disciplined for the same rule violation.

Recent case: Terrance began working for ConAgra Food...(register to read more)

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