I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT OFFER SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I mention your state’s laws, it only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state to learn your rights.
First, I applaud you for doing the right thing in refusing to cover up unsanitary and dangerous conditions. You should be very proud of what you did.
Whistleblowers are employees who report wrongdoing that harms the public, or has the potential to harm the public. Whistleblowers may also be employees who refuse to cover up unlawful activity. The wrongdoer can be a federal, state or local government, a private entity, or another employee. Usually, but not always, the wrongdoing benefits the government or private entity that engages in the wrongdoing.
Harm to the public may be caused by inflated prices, dangerous products, environmental harm, and more.
Whistleblowers are protected by law. The purpose of whistleblower protection laws is to allow employees to report, stop or testify about this kind of wrongdoing, as a benefit to the public. Note that complaints about wrongdoing that only harm the employer itself are not protected by whistleblowing laws.
Many whistleblower laws have a very short time period in which to file a claim. Please see my Avvo guide to whistleblowers for more information about whistleblowing: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/whistleblowers-and-their-rights?published=true.
If your employment is ended due to your refusal to hid the truth, you may have a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy or another employment-related claim. I urge you to speak with one or more experienced plaintiffs employment attorneys with whom you can go over the details of your case in private.
You can find a plaintiffs employment attorney on the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) web site www.nela.org. NELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the country for attorneys representing working people. You can search by location and practice area. Also, NELA has affiliates in every state and many cities which are listed on the NELA site. Not all NELA attorneys are named on the web site or affiliate site. This should not influence your selection; attorneys can choose whether or not to purchase a listing in the national directory, and each affiliate has its own rules for listing.
I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.
*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***