For those of us who dig our jobs, we often think the best of our employers. We give them the benefit of the doubt believe they are acting ethically, responsibly, and especially legally. But what happens if we find out our company may have been involved in some less-than-honorable business practices?
It can be a tough spot for an employee to find themselves in: do we report on company misconduct and risk getting fired? Luckily, there are laws in place to help protect employees who want to report fraud or illegal conduct in the workplace. This is a brief summary of “whistleblower” laws in Delaware.
Just about every state has some regulations that prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee who reports illegal, dangerous, or otherwise unethical business practices. These are known as "whistleblower" laws, and are designed to shield employees from demotion or firing if they come forward with important information. Under Delaware’s whistleblower laws only protect public employees from retaliation.
Delaware Whistleblower Statutes
While Delaware’s whistleblower laws are limited to public employees at the state level, the federal government has protections that apply to whistleblowers who believe their company has defrauded the government. These employees are allowed to file what are known as “qui tam actions,” and are defended from employer retaliation by the federal False Claims Act. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 also protects whistleblowers in cases of securities, shareholder, and other kinds of fraud.
Some of Delaware's whistleblower laws are highlighted in the following table.
|Code Section||Tit. 29 §5115|
|Prohibited Employer Activity||Can not discharge, threaten, or otherwise discriminate because employee reported to an elected official a violation or suspected violation of law or regulation unless employee knows report is false|
|Protection for Public or Private Employees?||Public|
|Opportunity for Employer to Correct?||-|
|Remedies||Civil action: for injunctive relief, actual damages, or both within 90 days of alleged violation|
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Delaware Whistleblower Laws: Related Resources
Navigating state and federal employment law can be a complex and confusing process. If you would like legal assistance with a corporate malfeasance or employment case, you can contact a Delaware whistleblower attorney. You can also visit FindLaw’s Employment Law section for more articles and resources on this topic.
Contact a qualified attorney.