Many of us have heard the term "whistleblower" in connection with various corporate scandals. In essence, whistleblowing involves a company insider who reports illegal activities to a government agencies. Although society benefits from this type of action whistleblowers actually stand to suffer from betraying their employer. Due to this, state and federal legislatures created whistleblower statutes to protect honest employees who ensure a business meets its social responsibility. Here, we'll look at whistleblower laws in the state of Utah.
The Protection of Public Employees Act
Utah Code Title 67, Chapter 21 is Utah's statute addressing this topic. Under this law, an employee cannot be forced to do something that will violate a state regulation or will lead to an unnecessary wasting of funds. Employers may also not direct an employee to destroy or discharge public property or labor.
Who Does the Law Cover?
Utah's version of the law applies to public entities. This means it regulates any type of state, county or city agency. Public employees are specifically granted protection under the purview of Chapter 21.
Prohibited Actions Under the Law
As referred to above, an employer cannot order an employee to act against the public interest. The employer is also prohibited from taking retaliatory action against an employee who does not partake in the illegal activity. If you feel you are caught in this type of situation, contact a business law attorney for assistance.
How Employees Use the Statute
There is one specific way an employee can take advantage of the protections of the whistleblower statute. The employee must file a lawsuit within 180 days of the occurrence. This period is measured from the time the employer takes some sort of action against the employee. After the lawsuit is filed, the court can choose to issue an injunction to prevent the employer from taking said action against the plaintiff. The court might also award damages for loss wages among other things.
If you are a public employee considering such a lawsuit, contact the law office of Spencer and Jensen, LLC for help. Learn about what rights you have from an experienced lawyer and a business attorney. Call (801) 566-1884 at anytime for a consultation.