The Whistleblower Act protects workers who report inappropriate or illegal behavior of co-workers or bosses to the proper superiors. Despite those legal protections, there are still incidents where an employee who reports a specific behavior is terminated as retaliation for stepping forward. This is illegal in Colorado and elsewhere and may lead to the employee seeking restitution for the wrongful termination. One example of this form of wrongful termination allegedly took place recently as a county jail officer claims he was fired after reporting inappropriate activity by fellow jail guards.
The incident unfolded after a guard saw pictures of two fellow guards on social media. The fellow guards were apparently in prison uniforms, which they were wearing as Halloween costumes. One of the men in the pictures was wearing what was described as a suicide smock and was depicted pretending to hang himself in the picture.
The guard who saw the pictures posted went to human resources, but he says that report was essentially dismissed. He then claims he was harassed for some time. One week prior to his resignation, he says he was fired. He accuses the employer of violating the Whistleblower’s Act, and he wants action taken to be reinstated at his job. He also wants monetary damages and lost wages as part of his lawsuit.
A wrongful termination lawsuit in Colorado or elsewhere can prove to be a difficult journey. However, when someone has been a victim of wrongful termination and a law, such as the Whistleblower’s Act, has been violated, that employee should be aware of his or her legal options through the court system. There are proper procedures that need to be taken to report illegal or inappropriate behavior, and any documentation of the steps taken can help enhance a wrongful termination suit as a victim moves forward with legal action.
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, “Former Utah deputy says he was fired after complaining that co-worker wore prison suicide smock as Halloween costume,” June 19, 2015