Employees in Detroit may wonder if there is anything they can do about wrongdoing they witness while on the job. Is there any way to report violations of law without being fired? The Michigan Whistleblowers' Protection Act protects employees who report certain kinds of illegal activity. This blog post will provide some basic information on this law and on what kinds of reporting is protected in the Wolverine State.
If an employee reports or is about to report a violation or suspected violation of federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations to a public body, the Act prohibits the employer from discharging, threatening or discriminating against the employee regarding the employee's compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges of employment. Employees also receive this protection if they participate in a public hearing, investigation, inquiry or court action.
It is important to note that the reporting of wrongdoing is limited to violations of laws, rules and regulations. Reporting other kinds of wrongdoing may not be protected under our state's law. The law does not protect employees who make reports to public bodies knowing the report is false. It also does not require employers to compensate employees for the time they spend participating in a public hearing, investigation, inquiry or court action.
If an employee believes their employer has violated their employment law rights under the Michigan Whistleblowers' Protection Act, the employee has 90 days to bring a civil action in circuit court. Employers in violation of the act could face a civil fine of up to $500. Employers may also be ordered to reinstate employees, pay back wages and reinstate fringe benefits and seniority rights to employees harmed in violation of the act. Employees may also be awarded actual damages and reasonable legal fees and witness fees for whistleblower claims.