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Protecting Whistleblowers in Missouri: Laws Penalties and Remedies

Whistleblower Protections in Missouri

Whistleblowers are individuals who report illegal or unethical activities in their workplace. While many whistleblowers face retaliation and termination, there are protections in place to prevent these occurrences.

Missouri has both common law and statutory protections for whistleblowers. In addition, there are whistleblower hotlines and ways to file retaliation claims.

In this article, we will discuss the different types of protections available to whistleblowers in Missouri.

Common Law Protections

Common law protections apply to employees who are employed at will, which means that the employer can terminate their employment for any reason or no reason at all. The public policy exception protects employees who are terminated for reasons that violate public policy.

This includes violations of state statutes, regulations, or constitutional provisions. For example, if an employee is terminated for refusing to engage in an illegal activity or reporting illegal or unethical conduct, they may have a claim for wrongful termination under the public policy exception.

Statutory Protections

Missouri also has statutory protections in place for whistleblowers. These protections apply to specific types of employees, including public employees, health care fraud whistleblowers, nursing care workers, municipal police, abuse of offender whistleblowers, and workers compensation whistleblowers.

These statutes provide protections against retaliation, and in some cases, a private cause of action.

Whistleblower Hotlines

The State of Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission operates a whistleblower hotline for state employees. This hotline provides a confidential way for employees to report suspected violations of law or conflicts of interest.

The Missouri Commission on Human Rights also operates a hotline for employees who believe that they have been subjected to discrimination or retaliation for engaging in protected activities.

Whistleblower Retaliation Claims

If an employee suffers retaliation for whistleblowing, they may file a retaliation claim with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. An employee must file a complaint within 180 days of the alleged retaliation.

The Commission may investigate the retaliation and order remedies, including reinstatement, back pay, and damages. The Commission may also award litigation costs and attorney’s fees.

Whistleblower Retaliation and Violation Penalties

Employers who retaliate against whistleblowers may be subject to significant penalties. These penalties can include damages, injunctive relief, reinstatement, back pay, litigation costs, and attorney’s fees.

Employers who violate whistleblower protection statutes may also face civil penalties.

Common Law Protections for Whistleblowers in Missouri

In addition to statutory protections, Missouri recognizes common law protections for whistleblowers. These protections are founded on the public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine.

To qualify for protection, an employee must have been terminated for:

– Refusing to perform an illegal act

– Reporting illegal conduct or ethical violations

– Exercising a legal right or fulfilling a legal duty

– Reporting conduct that is a public hazard

Activities Considered Protected

Missouri courts have recognized a wide range of activities that are protected by the public policy exception. These activities include reporting wage and hour violations, health and safety violations, environmental violations, and discrimination.

The public policy exception also protects employees who refuse to participate in unlawful activities, such as illegal discrimination or retaliation against a co-worker. In conclusion, whistleblowers in Missouri have both statutory and common law protections.

There are also whistleblower hotlines and ways to file retaliation claims. Employers who violate whistleblower protections may face significant penalties.

Overall, whistleblowers play a critical role in identifying and reporting unethical or illegal activities in the workplace. Protecting whistleblowers from retaliation is essential to maintaining a just and transparent society.

Statutory Protections for Whistleblowers in Missouri

Whistleblowers play a crucial role in exposing illegal or unethical activities in the workplace. In Missouri, there are statutory protections in place for several categories of employees who report violations of the law or ethical breaches.

These protections are intended to safeguard whistleblowers from retaliation.

Public Employees

Missouri law protects public employees who disclose violations of the law or who report unethical or illegal activities in their workplace. Public employees may also be protected if they oppose discriminatory practices in the workplace.

If a public employee is retaliated against for engaging in these activities, they may file a retaliation claim. A successful retaliation claim may result in actual damages, punitive damages, and litigation costs.

Health Care Fraud

Missouri law provides specific protections for whistleblowers who report health care fraud. This includes fraudulent healthcare claims made to the government or private sector insurers.

If a healthcare employee is terminated or retaliated against for reporting health care fraud, they may be entitled to reinstatement, lost pay, interest, and attorney’s fees.

Nursing Care Workers

Missouri law protects nursing care workers who report violations of the law or ethical breaches committed by their employers or co-workers. This includes harassment and discrimination.

Nursing care workers who suffer retaliation for reporting these violations may have a claim for wrongful termination or retaliation. The whistleblower protections also extend to those who refuse to participate in illegal or unethical activities.

Municipal Police

Missouri law protects municipal police officers who report unlawful conduct committed by their colleagues or supervisors. If a municipal police officer suffers retaliation for good faith reporting of unlawful activities, they may be entitled to damages, lost wages, attorney’s fees, and reinstatement.

Abuse of Offenders in Correctional Facilities

Missouri law protects employees who report abuse of offenders in correctional facilities. This includes reporting violations of funding, discrimination, and abuse of offenders.

An employee who is retaliated against for making such reports may sue for damages and may obtain an injunction prohibiting further retaliation.

Workers Compensation

Missouri law provides protections for employees who file workers compensation claims. Employers cannot terminate or retaliate against employees who file these claims.

If an employee is terminated or retaliated against for filing a workers compensation claim, they may be entitled to lost wages, emotional distress damages, and attorney’s fees.

Whistleblower Retaliation Claims in Missouri

In Missouri, whistleblowers who suffer retaliation for their actions may bring retaliation claims against their employers. The following sections discuss the specific remedies that may be available for different types of retaliation claims.

Public Employees

If a public employee has suffered retaliation for engaging in whistleblowing activity, they may file a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. If the Commission determines that the complaint has merit, it may seek remedies on behalf of the employee.

These remedies may include actual damages, punitive damages, and litigation costs.

Discrimination

Whistleblower retaliation claims may also include claims for discrimination. If an employer discriminates against an employee because of the employee’s whistleblowing activities, the employee may also be entitled to remedies under anti-discrimination laws.

These remedies may include back pay, reinstatement, housing, public accommodations, financial assistance, damages, and civil penalties.

Health Care Fraud

Whistleblowers who report health care fraud and suffer retaliation may file a complaint with the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration. If the Department determines that there is merit to the complaint, it may seek remedies on behalf of the whistleblower.

These remedies may include reinstatement, lost pay, and interest.

Abuse of Offenders in Correctional Facilities

Missouri law provides criminal penalties for employers who retaliate against employees who report abuse of offenders in correctional facilities. If an employee suffers retaliation for reporting abuse of offenders, they may report this to the local prosecutor’s office, who may pursue a criminal action on the employee’s behalf.

The employee may also sue their employer for damages, such as back pay and lost wages. In conclusion, whistleblowers in Missouri have statutory protections that protect them from retaliation due to their whistleblowing activities.

These protections vary depending on the employee’s profession and the nature of their whistleblowing report. If an employer retaliates against a whistleblower, the whistleblower may file a claim and seek remedies, which may include damages, reinstatement, and attorney’s fees.

By reporting illegal or unethical activities, whistleblowers protect the public and contribute to transparency in the workplace. In Missouri, whistleblowers play a crucial role in identifying and reporting illegal or unethical activities in the workplace.

To protect whistleblowers from retaliation, Missouri has both common law and statutory protections, as well as whistleblower hotlines and ways to file retaliation claims. These protections vary depending on the employee’s profession and the nature of their whistleblowing report.

By reporting illegal or unethical activities, whistleblowers contribute to transparency in the workplace and safeguard the public. It is essential to recognize and protect whistleblowers to maintain a just and honest society.

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