Can I Report Violations Without Fear of Getting Fired?
Several federal statutes provide "whistleblower" protection to those employees who experience discrimination or retaliation for engaging in protected activities. This protection includes reporting an employer for violations of state and federal safety laws.
For instance, you may choose to report the factory to OSHA or some other agency. If you are fired as a result, you may be entitled to lost wages, reinstatement, reimbursement of your legal costs and other relief. It is also helpful to know that law firms are bound to confidentiality, and no one will know if you have contacted an attorney regarding safety violations at your workplace. Even if you are unsure whether a situation is a safety violation or not but are still concerned, you should absolutely still voice that concern either to your employer or an attorney.
If a co-worker or employer is encouraging you not to speak with an attorney, it may be a good sign to start seeking legal counsel. That type of conduct usually indicates the party who caused your harm will be trying to evade their duty to compensate you for your medical expenses, lost income, and other damages. Your coworkers and friends may be trying to talk you out of reporting a safety violation because they are unaware of regulations and the possibility of severe consequences that could incur because of the safety violations. Finally, under the law, an industrial worker who shows they were dismissed from their job because he brought a claim against his employer may be able to recover for his losses.
You need to understand what your rights are as an employee, and you absolutely have the right to safety at your workplace.