What to Know About Michigan Whistleblower Protections

Oftentimes, real progress in Michigan and throughout the U.S. happens due to the actions of brave individuals who risk their employment and livelihoods to expose illegal or immoral actions on the part of companies. These people have come to be referred to as “whistleblowers.” You don’t have to bring attention to criminal wrongdoing in a large federal agency to be recognized as a whistleblower — something as simple as notifying authorities when you notice your employer overbilling Medicare or even your employer’s belief that you will contact authorities or even an attorney counts as blowing the whistle. 
In a perfect world, you would be free to expose the wrongful actions of your employer without fear of retaliation. However, the mere fact that some employers feel emboldened enough to commit unlawful acts makes it likely that whistleblowers will experience retaliation in the workplace. Retaliation can come in the form of termination, demotion, threats, or other adverse actions. 
There are a handful of federal laws that protect the rights of whistleblowers; one notable law is the False Claims Act. Additionally, Michigan has its own law — the Michigan Whistleblowers’ Protection Act — that prevents employers from retaliating against employees who report violations of federal, state, or local laws to the authorities. The law also prohibits retaliation by employers if an employee participates in a public hearing or cooperates with investigators. 
If Your Employer Retaliates
Again, an employer who commits unlawful acts is also prone to ignore Michigan’s Whistleblowers’ Protection Act. If your employer flouts state law and, for example, terminates you for blowing the whistle on illegal activity, you can go to court and ask to be reinstated at your old job. Depending on the particulars of your case, you might also be awarded back wages and benefits. Recouping attorney fees might be on the table, as well. 
It is important to act quickly, though: you generally have only 90 days to go to court over an alleged violation of Michigan’s whistleblower law. And, you could face penalties for knowingly filing a false report. 
Separately, keep a close eye on whether or not your employer is found to have committed fraud or other unlawful actions. You might be eligible to receive a portion of the judgment if you initiate a qui tam lawsuit. However, this is usually done in conjunction with federal law and is quite complicated. 

Attorney Carla D. Aikens is On the Side of Employees
Simply put, we believe that people who do faithfully fulfill their duties at work should not have to worry about their employment. Not everyone has the courage to speak up, so whistleblowers are important members of our society who protect us from harms that would otherwise go unchecked, and we are proud to aggressively protect their rights. If you are dealing with employer retaliation in any context, we want to help you. Call our office at  844-835-2993 to set up a free consultation with our legal team.

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Carla D. Aikens, P.L.C.

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