Reporting Abuse and Wrongful Termination
There is a term in employment law which refers to unlawful pressure exerted by employers to punish employees that reported any wrongdoing that has occurred within a company. This is called retaliation. It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees that are instrumental in bringing the attention of the concerned authorities to illegal or abusive practices that prevail within a company or organization, or whistle-blowing. One instance of unlawful pressure that can be brought to bear against an employer is wrongful termination.
A good example of an employee “blowing the whistle” on an employer is by reporting abuse. Nursing homes have become increasingly scrutinized because of the high incidence of reporting abuse. It is estimated that 1 in every 3 nursing homes in the U.S. have been reported for nursing home abuse, and experts agree that it is highly likely that the number of incidents are underreported. In many instances, the abuse is reported by a family member or friend of the resident, and infrequently by the residents themselves. But there are instances where an employee of the nursing home will initiate an investigation by independently reporting abuse directly to the concerned authorities rather than restricting the report to the nursing home administration.
While nursing home abuse may actually be perpetrated by another resident, the nursing home itself may still be cited for failing to prevent and report the abuse. In most cases, anyway, the abuse is done by the nursing home staff, either through neglect or more active and malicious forms of abuse. The nursing home is typically sanctioned with fines or restrictions on subsidies. The nursing home administrator may then retaliate against the whistleblower by terminating his or her employment. This is illegal, and the employee may sue the nursing home for it.
If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated for reporting abuse or other illegal practices in your company or organization, consult with a wrongful termination lawyer to assess the case. The lawyer will be able to discuss what legal options you have and where your best interest lie.