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Man wins trial against employer for whistleblower retaliation

New York workers who engage in whistleblowing are protected under federal laws. When the workers report their employers for engaging in illegal behavior, the companies are prohibited from retaliating against them for engaging in protected activities. Retaliation may include any negative job action, including termination. It might also include filing defamation lawsuits against whistleblowers if the purpose is retaliatory.

In one recent case that was filed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on behalf of a New York construction worker, the worker was awarded both compensatory and punitive damages by a jury at trial. The case involved a worker who reported Champagne Demolition LLC for illegally disposing of asbestos that the company had been hired to remove from a high school in Alexandria Bay, New York.

The man entered the worksite after it was closed and photographed the illegal handling of asbestos. He also removed one bag of the asbestos. The company fired him as soon as they learned that he had reported the company's actions and filed a defamation lawsuit against the man. The company stipulated to the dismissal of the defamation lawsuit. At trial, the jury awarded the man $174,000, and $50,000 of that amount was awarded as punitive damages.

It is illegal for employers to retaliate against whistleblowers for reporting them. Whistleblowers who believe that they have been the victims of retaliation by their employers might want to talk to experienced employment lawyers who handle such cases. The attorneys might help their clients to file their retaliation claims with the appropriate agencies. If they are given leave to do so, they may file formal lawsuits against the employers in order to try to recover damages for their clients. Whistleblower retaliation is illegal, and workers who have suffered it may have legal rights to recover damages for their losses.

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