Whistleblower | ˈ(h)wisəl ˌblō(ə)r
A person who informs on a person or organization engaged in an illicit activity.
Am I a Whistleblower?
The image of certain prominent Minnesotans come to mind when you think about the classic story of a “whistleblower.”
You likely think of people like Jan Ganglehoff, the University of Minnesota tutor who blew the whistle on academic cheating within the Minnesota Gophers basketball organization during the team’s Final Four run in 1997. Ganglehoff was brave and bold in reporting academic fraud at a time the decision was unpopular but important.
We think of clients we’ve represented—everyday people—who did the right thing at work by reporting concerns that implicated legal violations and then suffered the ultimate consequence: a retaliatory firing or some other kind of penalty like a demotion.
The Minnesota Legislature has enacted broad and powerful protections for everyday Minnesotans who do the right thing at work by reporting suspected, actual, or planned illegal activity. It is illegal in our state under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act (Minn. Stat. § 181.932) for employers to penalize employees for reporting violations or for refusing to carry out illegal activities
We use this law every day to represent employees who have been fired for doing things as simple as telling supervisors it was wrong to direct employees to work in unsafe work environments against OSHA rules or rules governing other specific industries.
We understand that everyday whistleblowers get retaliated against all the time for being in tune with the intricate rules that govern their industries. The rules and regulations adopted pursuant to state and federal laws we’re talking about may not be attention-grabbing, newspaper-headline-worthy infractions, but they are laws—and you, as an employee working for a Minnesota employer, are protected for speaking up about doing the right thing while asking your employer do the same.
Attorney Ben Kwan has represented employees who qualified for Minnesota’s whistleblower protections in all kinds of industries—Ph.D. chemists, trash collectors, truck drivers, nurses—all workers who suffered the consequences for doing the right thing.
Ways We Can Help
- Make the Retaliation Stop. If you’ve blown the whistle on an illegal practice and still work for the employer, and are currently enduring retaliation (frequently defined by courts as any actions that would dissuade any other reasonable employee from blowing the whistle under similar circumstances), we can intervene on your behalf and demand that the retaliation stop.
- Negotiate an out. Another option for still-employed whistleblowers suffering provable retaliation is to negotiate an amicable exit that preserves your right to say you left on your own accord and secures financial terms that helps bridge the gap to the next chapter in your career.
- File a lawsuit. If you’ve been wrongfully terminated as a result of whistleblowing, we are also experienced litigators and can take your case to trial. Often, however, whistleblower suits get resolved through settlement before a lawsuit is even filed.
We welcome calls and visits from employees who are currently facing the dicey prospect of blowing the whistle at work or those who suspect they’ve been fired for speaking up about important issues implicating the law—however trivial they may have seemed at the time. Feel free to take advantage of our 20-minute, Free Phone Evaluation as a starting point: