Does your company participate in illegal activities? If so, you may not
know what to do next. Blowing the whistle takes courage, especially if
you were hired “at-will.” You may be worried about losing
your job or facing
employer retaliation, but you should know that your rights as a whistleblower are protected
through Kentucky’s common law and statutory protections.
Your employer cannot retaliate against you for speaking up about unethical,
dangerous or illegal business practices—even if you were hired at-will.
This doesn’t mean that they won’t try, however, which is why
it would be in your best interest to speak with a Louisville employment
lawyer at Biesecker Dutkanych & Macer, LLC if you are thinking about
blowing the whistle.
Common Law Protections for Whistleblowers
If you were hired at-will, your employer can fire you without warning.
They do not have to establish cause for termination, as long as it is
not based on
discrimination or retaliation. That being said, you should know that Kentucky recognizes
a public policy exception to at-will employment. If you are fired for
speaking up, this would be seen as retaliation.
This would also be a violation of the public policy exception. You cannot
be fired for exercising your rights, even if it is not in the best interest
of your employer. The same would apply if you exercised your right to
collect workers’ compensation benefits. If punitive action is taken
against you, you may have the right to sue your employer on the basis of
Statutory Protections for Whistleblowers
Although they are far more narrow that common law protections, statutory
protections prohibit employers from retaliating against their employees
when they engage in “protected activities.” These protected
activities include filing a complaint or testifying about unethical or
illegal business practices.
More specifically, you cannot be fired for speaking up about:
- Workplace discrimination
- Minimum wage violations
- Medical assistance fraud
- Safety and health violations
- Wage discrimination
If you were fired for speaking up about illegal business practices, you
should discuss your case with a Louisville employment attorney immediately.
You must file a lawsuit against your employer within five years of the
retaliatory action, unless otherwise specified. This may seem like plenty
of time, but you shouldn’t wait until the deadline approaches to
Contact Our Firm for a Free, No-Obligation Consultation
We have been protecting the rights of employees for more than 50 years
combined. We only advocate for employees, never for employers, so you
can trust that we will have your best interests in mind when you come
to our firm for help. Our team is comprised of seasoned litigators who
have been honored by prestigious organizations like Martindale-Hubbell®.
Attorneys Ben Aylsworth, Andrew Dutkanych and Kyle Biesecker have also
been selected for inclusion on the
Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠ list. Find out how we can assist you by calling our
firm today for a free consultation. We can not only help you understand
your rights, but also fight to ensure that your employer is held accountable
for the wrongdoing you have suffered.
Ready to take the first step? Contact our firm today to set up a
free case evaluation!