Companies in Connecticut have an obligation to adhere to local, state and federal regulations. If a business is acting in an illegal manner, an employee may choose to speak out about that behavior. In some cases, a person may choose to speak out about the behavior of a specific person within an organization. This is referred to as being a whistleblower.
Those who act in such a capacity are protected by the Lincoln Law as well as the Whistleblower Act of 1989. States may also provide protection to those who speak out against colleagues or employers. The act of whistleblowing has been going on for centuries. The phrase “qui tam”, now used to refer to a whistleblower lawsuit, is derived from Latin and was first used in a legal sense in medieval England. Whistleblowing in the United States has occurred since at least 1773.
In some cases, whistleblowers will be the subject of retaliation from their employers or others in the industry. This was the case when an individual decided to reveal the truth about the dangers of tobacco. More recently, a whistleblower claims that he was retaliated against for disclosing fraud at Theranos. However, many companies actually appreciate when employees let them know about fraud within their organizations. According to a 2014 study, 42.2 percent of fraud cases began with an inside tip.
Generally speaking, those who are seen as whistleblowers cannot face retaliation from their own companies. If employers do try to demote, terminate or otherwise harass those who have acted in good faith, it may be grounds for a lawsuit. If successful, an individual may be entitled to compensation or his or her job back. Those who pursue a lawsuit may wish to do so with an attorney who could seek a resolution in court or through a settlement.