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Whistleblowers may be reinstated to their jobs, receive damages

A woman in another state claimed that she lost her job simply because she was a whistleblower. However, the woman, who worked at a college, was recently reinstated to her former role. Whistleblowers in the Bay Area who are punished by their employers for reporting illegal or unethical behavior have the right to seek to hold accountable their employers.

In the recent out-of-state case, the woman was terminated back in 2014. Before being fired, she was the director of one of the campuses of a college and earned about $85,000 in benefits and salary. However, she claimed she was demoted from her position after reporting financial abuse.

The woman was then ultimately fired for allegedly taking various complaints to several parties, including the state governor, department of higher education and auditor's office. These complaints included college regents' alleged malfeasance, women's mistreatment at the institution, and fraud and waste in the grant programs. The court recently ordered the woman to receive her job position back or another job position with the same salary. She will also receive lost wages, damages for emotional distress and interest totaling $475,000.

Sometimes whistleblowers in the workplace are seen as menaces rather than as heroes for being willing to speak up about their companies' illegal practices. When this happens and they are fired or punished in another way as a result, they have the right to seek justice. An applied understanding of whistleblower-related laws might help to improve a punished employee's chances of winning his or her case in the Bay Area.

Source: abqjournal.com, "Whistleblower gets job back; award cut by $200K", T.S. Last, Sept. 29, 2017

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