Massachusetts Whistleblower Rights
Similar to most other states, Massachusetts has a law (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 149, section 185) that protects whistleblowers from retaliation. Employers are prohibited from taking adverse employment action against a worker simply because that worker disclosed/reported information related misconduct or a legal violation. All Massachusetts workers should be able to report possible employer misconduct without fearing reprisal.
In addition, when contractors defraud government entities, whistleblowers can make protected disclosures under the Massachusetts False Claims Act or the federal False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733). Under these laws, whistleblowers not only receive employment law protection, but may be entitled to financial compensation for disclosing information that ultimately results in the government recovering money for taxpayers.
We are Experienced Massachusetts Whistleblower Rights Attorneys
At Console Mattiacci Law, LLC, our Massachusetts whistleblower attorneys are dedicated advocates for our clients. No matter the specific circumstances of your case, we are prepared to take action to protect your rights. Our legal team has settled claims and secured verdicts in excess of one million dollars and is renowned in the Northeastern United States for representing whistleblowers in employer retaliation suits.
If your employer has retaliated against you for reporting illegal, unethical, or wrongful activity, you could be entitled to damages under state or federal whistleblower protection laws. Call us at (856) 854-4000 or contact us online and we can begin discussing your case today.
Some Examples of Whistleblower Claims in Massachusetts
Whistleblower claims always require an individualized review. There are many different ways in which a company could engage in misconduct or violate the law. In many cases, these violations may be wholly unintentional. Some of the most notable examples include:
- Billing government programs for unnecessary services or services that were not provided;
- Violating state or federal wage violations, including overtime pay and employee misclassification;
- Engaging in workplace safety violations;
- Discriminatory hiring, promoting, or paying practices; and
- The use of bribes, kickbacks, or misrepresentations to win government contracts.
Massachusetts employees have a right to report their concerns through the proper channels without facing retaliation.
Massachusetts’ Common Law Whistleblower Protections
Massachusetts whistleblower statutes only apply to public employees. However, there are certain instances in which a private employee can file a wrongful termination claim against their employer. In Massachusetts, an employer is prohibited from retaliating against an employee if:
- The employee exposes or threatens to expose a policy that is a threat to public health, safety, or the environment;
- The employee provides information to a government agency during an investigation or testifies against an employer; or
- The employee refuses to violate the law under the order of a supervisor.
Public Policy Protections for Whistleblowers in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is an at-will employment state. This means that either party may terminate the relationship without a reason or notice. While Massachusetts employees have broad discretion to make their own personnel decisions, they cannot take adverse action against an employee for an illegal reason.
One example might be when an employer demands that an employee commit perjury in an investigation. The employee who refuses to commit perjury or cooperates with the investigation cannot be terminated for doing so. In order to trigger this protection, an employee must be able to show that their employer violated some specific and well-established public policy. For instance, an employee who blows the whistle on discriminatory hiring practices and is wrongfully terminated may be able to file a claim against their employer, citing well-established anti-discrimination policies.
Federal and State Qui Tam Actions Against Employers
State and federal governments have put strong whistleblower regulations in place to ensure that taxpayers are protected. If a company files false or illegitimate charges to the government, insider employees have the right to disclose that information to government officials without being retaliated against. In these claims, workers may be eligible for compensation of up to 30 percent of the total amount of money recovered by the government.
Damages in Employer Retaliation Lawsuits
If you disclosed information and faced retaliation from an employer, you should contact an experienced Massachusetts whistleblower rights lawyer immediately. You may be entitled to compensation and injunctive relief. Depending on the nature of your claim, relief may be available in the form of:
- Back pay or compensation for lost wages;
- Front pay or reinstatement of their job;
- Attorney and court fees;
- Out of pocket expenses related to securing new employment; and
- And in some cases, punitive damages.
Contact a Massachusetts Whistleblower Rights Attorney Today
At Console Mattiacci Law, LLC, we have represented whistleblowers all across the North East including here in Massachusetts. Give us a call at 617-665-6740 or contact us online and we can begin discussing your options.