Are Private Employees Protected by Whistleblower Act in Ohio?

When it comes to whistleblower protection for private sector employees, you might have a number of questions. The Ohio Whistleblower Protection Act effectively makes it illegal for any employers in both the private and public sectors to harass, punish, or retaliate against any workers that have reported wrongdoing or unlawful activity. The reported wrongdoing can be in relation to the worker’s boss, employer, or their work colleagues.

So when you ask if there are any whistleblower protection for private sector employees, the short answer to that question is yes. There is protection in the Whistleblower Protection Act for private sector employees. But we can take a more in depth look at what kind of whistleblower protections exist for private sector employees.

Is There Whistleblower Protection for Private Sector Employees?

Once more, there is whistleblower protection for private-sector employees. While we will go over how a private sector employee can invoke those kinds of protections shortly, it is also in your best interest to also speak with a whistleblower attorney. They will know the specific ins and outs of the Ohio Whistleblower Protection Act and the steps needed to get a violation report started.

You, as an employee who is seeking to invoke the Whistleblower Protection Act for private sector wrongdoing, should have a general idea of what the law says in regard to the protection of private and public sector employees.

Section 124.341 (A) of the Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) says the following in regard to a private or public employee becoming aware of wrongdoing or unlawful activity:

“If an employee in the classified or unclassified civil service becomes aware in the course of employment of a violation of state or federal statutes, rules, or regulations or the misuse of public resources, and the employee’s supervisor or appointing authority has authority to correct the violation or misuse, the employee may file a written report identifying the violation or misuse with the supervisor or appointing authority. In addition to or instead of filing a written report with the supervisor or appointing authority, the employee may file a written report with the office of internal audit created under section 126.45 of the Revised Code or file a complaint with the auditor of the state’s fraud-reporting system under section 117.103 of the Revised Code.”

This essentially means that you, as an employee, are able to file a report if you notice any violations of state or federal law, if you believe that there is a criminal offense taking place, or if you have a reasonable belief that there is the potential for imminent physical harm to people or where something may become a public safety hazard.

The reported activity has to fall within the specifications laid out conditions for whistleblower protection for private-sector employees to take effect.

Alongside the Ohio-specific statutes, a whistleblower attorney will also be able to walk you through the protections that are afforded to private-sector employees through whistleblower protections at the federal level.

For more information on the federal level, see our brief breakdown here.

Whistleblower Protection Act for Private Sector – What to Know

When it comes to the Whistleblower Protection Act for private-sector employees, here is a practical breakdown of when an employee can invoke protections under the Ohio state statute. If you are working at a private school, company, or state or local government agency, you can invoke whistleblower protection for private-sector employees when you:

  • Wholeheartedly believe that a violation is a possible crime, a crime, or a danger to public health
  • Take notice of an ethical, legal, or regulatory violation by a coworker, manager, supervisor, or executive at your place of work
  • Report the noticed violation in writing to a regulatory agency, law enforcement, or an appropriate entity through your organization

Once a report is received, the receiving party is then required to undertake a good faith investigation. The investigation will need to determine the accuracy of the report given. And if the report is found to be corroborated, then a solution will need to be implemented.

The Whistleblower Protection Act for private-sector employees offers the following legal options for whistleblowers that face retaliation from the workplace:

  • Payment of back pay
  • Reinstatement to the employee’s previous position after demotion or being fired
  • Reinstatement of full benefits
  • Payment of attorney’s fees
  • Payment of back pay with interest if the retaliation has been found to be intentional

Work With a Whistleblower Attorney

If you have questions pertaining to the Whistleblower Protection Act for private-sector employees, reach out to a whistleblower attorney at the Friedmann Firm. We offer free and confidential consultations, and we are here to work with you as you look for whistleblower protection for private-sector employees.

Get in contact with a whistleblower attorney online or at 614-610-9755.

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