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Whistleblower protections in the workplace

It is no surprise that entities that do business in the United States are regulated to ensure that the products and services that they provide are safe, legal and appropriate for consumers. Additionally, businesses are required to follow certain laws and rules regarding how they make their goods, how they employ and treat their workers and many other workplace issues. These legislative and rule-making policies are in place not only to protect businesses, but also to keep safe the people who work for the businesses and those who use the businesses' products.

Illinois workers may, from time to time, note that their employers are not abiding by the many rules that govern their operations. For example, an employee may notice that their employer is improperly disposing of certain hazardous substances. Or, an employee may become aware of discriminatory employment practices at work in their company's human resources department.

If that worker reports their employer's wrongdoing they are granted the status of a "whistleblower." This term generally refers to the employee's role in bringing to the light an illegal practice that the employer must remedy. Oftentimes, however, workers who become whistleblowers suffer consequences at the hands of their employers in the form of retaliatory practices.

A worker who is harassed, fired, demoted or otherwise subjected to adverse employment actions because they reported wrongdoing on the part of their employer may have legal protections as a whistleblower. They may have rights under both federal and state law, and attorneys who advise clients in the realm of employment law are available to guide them through the process of protecting themselves and their jobs.

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