Much has been said and written about whistleblowers in the news thanks to a variety of events, some political and some commercial. If an employer finds itself in a potential whistleblower situation, it’s easy to understand why emotions might run high. It’s easy to foresee mistakes being made that will expose that employer to a threat of liability. That’s because Oregon’s anti-retaliation laws are among the broadest in the nation.
The very first call an employer should make in a situation that even resembles a whistleblower scenario is to legal counsel. There are significant concerns that need to be addressed immediately, including the anonymity of the person, to whom that person has communicated, and what kinds of activity the communications put at issue.
But there’s more to the law of retaliation that an employer needs to be concerned with. Employees are protected when they merely inquire, within the structure of an organization, about certain matters (for instance, compensation or equal employment opportunity issues). HR needs to be advised when these things happen and how to handle them, and whether and when such inquiries have occurred need to be taken into consideration when addressing a host of other matters.
We hope that you pick up the phone and seek our help before attempting to walk through this minefield on your own. And we’re here to help you either way.