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Retaliation

Massachusetts whistleblower law protects government employees who tell a supervisor or a public agency about violations of law, or company actions that pose risks to public health, safety or the environment

Massachusetts has a whistleblower law that prohibits retaliation against a government employee who reports violations of law or risks to public health, safety or the environment.  Retaliatory action includes the discharge, suspension or demotion of an employee, or other materially adverse employment actions like a transfer or reduction in work hours. The Massachusetts whistleblower law allows a court to grant several kinds of relief to a protected employee, including a restraining order, reinstatement, a mandatory multiplier of three times the employee’s lost wages and benefits, and attorney’s fees. There is a two year statute of limitation.

The Whistleblower Act penalizes employers who retaliate against an employee who does any of the following:

  • Reports or says he or she will report to a supervisor or to a public agency an employer’s policy or action that the employee reasonably believes is in violation of a law, or which the employee reasonably believes is a risk to public health, safety or the environment. This protection includes reporting information about another employer with whom the employee’s employer has a business relationship.
  • Provides information to, or testifies before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry into any violation of law, or a risk to public health, safety or the environment by the employer. This protection includes information or testimony about another employer with whom the employee’s employer has a business relationship.
  • Objects to, or refuses to participate in any activity, policy or practice which the employee reasonably believes violates the law, or which the employee reasonably believes poses a risk to public health, safety or the environment.

An employee is not required to first report the illegal conduct to his or her employer if he or she: (A) is reasonably certain that the activity or practice is already known to one or more supervisors of the employer and the situation is emergency in nature; (B) reasonably fears physical harm if he or she comes forward; or (C) discloses the legal violation to a public agency or court in order to provide evidence of what the employee reasonably believes to be a crime.

Pamela A. Smith
Law Office of Pamela A. Smith
233 Needham Street, Suite 540
Newton, MA 02464
617-969-2900

pam@pamsmithlaw.com

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