In addition to the things pointed out by my colleague's response, Washington law provides an additional safeguard against retaliation by lawsuit for a person's reporting to governmental agencies. Washington has an "Anti-SLAPP" law, which stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. If a person or entity sues in retaliation for a person engaging in protected speech -- which includes reporting to governmental agencies like the NLRB -- the sued person has specific remedies available under the law to get the case dismissed quickly, get an award of attorneys' fees and costs, and get an award of a $10,000 statutory penalty in his or her favor. Lawsuits for defamation (libel/slander) and tortious interference (hurting a business because of certain actions or speech) are most commonly the areas in which SLAPP litigation takes place.
You should not be intimidated into not filing a good faith complaint with a governmental entity. Protections exist in the law for you if you do make that good faith complaint. If you have engaged in actual wrongful conduct, however, these protections will not eliminate possible liability for that conduct. That determination will hinge on the facts of what you said to whom, when, and where. Consulting with a lawyer can help you sort that out.
The relevant provisions of Washington's Anti-SLAPP law are at RCW 4.24.500 - RCW 4.24.525. I've provided a link to the first of these laws below. You can click through the others at the top of the page that opens when you click on this link. I hope that this information is helpful to you. Good luck!
Benjamin Nivison is an attorney licensed to practice law in Washington State. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Mr. Nivison, nor does it constitute specific advice for your particular legal matter. The information provided in this communication is for general reference and informational purposes only, and therefore should not be relied on as legal advice. Legal issues are by their nature complex, and any person with a legal question should fully consult with a qualified attorney.
Keep in mind that retaliation in terms of employment usually constitutes taking a negative employment action against an employee because they have filed a complaint, complained of discrimination, etc. The law protects you from that type of improper retaliation. If, however, your former employer (FM) has a legitimate claim against you (for defaming them) that they could have brought against you 18 months ago there is nothing barring them from bringing a legitimate action against you now.
Key principles are that its not retaliation if they are pursuing a legitimate claim; it is retaliation if the are taking an illegal action in response to a legitimate claim by you.
Providing this general response does not create an attorney client relationship.