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North Carolina Whistleblower Laws

The knowledge that your company has engaged in some shady behavior can put you in an awkward position. Maybe you love the company, but disapprove of some of its actions. Or one bad apple is spoiling the corporate bunch. Either way, reporting company misconduct could get us fired, right? Actually, there are some laws that protect employees that report fraud or illegal conduct in the workplace. Here is a brief summary of “whistleblower” laws in North Carolina.

Whistleblower Laws

Most states have laws that prohibit retaliation against employees (which may include termination or demotion) who report dangerous, unethical, or otherwise unsavory acts by the employer. These so-called "whistleblower" laws protect employees who otherwise might not step forward with important information. Unlike many other states, North Carolina whistleblower laws apply to employees of both public and private employers.

North Carolina Whistle Blower Statutes

Learn more about North Carolina's whistleblower laws in the following table.

Code Section

95-240, et seq.

Prohibited Employer Activity

Can not discriminate, discharge, suspend, demote or take other adverse action if employee or representative files claim, initiates an action or testifies on worker's compensation, OHSA, and wages or hours

Protection for Public or Private Employees?

Both

Opportunity for Employer to Correct?

-

Remedies

Can file complaint with Commission of Labor within 180 days of the incident; after 180 days, employee can request a right-to-sue letter, then can file civil action within 90 days of issuance of the right to sue and get injunction, reinstatement, full fringe benefits and seniority rights, back pay and benefits and reasonable attorney's fees. If court finds willful violation, can get treble damages

Penalties

-

There are also protections for whistleblowers who believe their company has defrauded the government. In these cases (referred to as “qui tam actions”), federal law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for filing a suit under the False Claims Act. "Any action" means terminating, suspending, demoting, or "in any other manner discriminat[ing] against [the employee] in the terms and conditions of employment." This is in addition to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which protects whistleblowers in cases securities, shareholder, and other kinds of fraud.

North Carolina Whistleblower Laws: Related Resources

State laws, especially in the employment context, are constantly changing. You can contact a North Carolina whistleblower attorney if you would like legal assistance. You can also continue your own legal research by visiting FindLaw’s Employment Law section for more introductory information on this topic.

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