Louisiana Whistleblower Protections

whistleblower protection laws

Louisiana adopted a general whistleblower protection statute and an environmental whistleblower statute. Also, several other Louisiana statutes contain anti-retaliation provisions. Employees who engage in protected activities (usually filing a complaint or testifying) under laws in the following subject areas are protected from retaliation: health care employees, insurer employees, labor investigations & proceedings, and workers’ compensation.

General Whistleblower Protection Law

An employee may not be discharged (or discriminated against) in retaliation for performing, in good faith, the following activities:

  • Disclosing (or threatening to disclose) a workplace act or practice that violates state law.
  • Providing information or testimony in a public investigation, hearing, or inquiry into any violation of the law.
  • Refusing to participate in (or objecting to) an illegal employment act.

To be protected under this statute, the employee must first inform the employer of the violation. An employee is not protected if he goes directly to a governmental agency without first advising the employer. Also, an employee must be certain that the illegal conduct actually happened; a reasonable, good faith belief will not protect an employee if no violation actually occurred.

An employee may file a lawsuit in an appropriate court (where the retaliation occurred). The lawsuit must be filed within one year of the retaliatory action. A wrongfully discharged employee may recover compensatory damages, back pay, benefits, reinstatement, reasonable attorney fees, and court costs resulting from the reprisal. If you believe you have a claim, you should contact a lawyer immediately.

Environmental Whistleblowers

An employee may not be retaliated against for performing the following activities:

  • Disclosing (or threatening to disclose) suspected violations of an environmental law, rule, or regulation. The disclosure is protected only if made to a supervisor or to a public body. The employer does not necessarily have to violate an environmental law for the employer to be protected: the employee’s reasonable belief that a violation has occurred is sufficient.
  • Providing information or testimony in a public investigation, hearing, or inquiry concerning environmental violations.

An employee is not protected if the employee himself, on his own initiative, deliberately commits a violation of environmental laws.

Louisiana Whistleblower Protection - Reporting fraud, crime, tax evasion protections.An employee may file a lawsuit in an appropriate court (a district court in the employee’s parish). The lawsuit must be filed within one year of the retaliatory action. A wrongfully discharged employee may recover triple damages on his lost wages, up to three years. If you believe you have a claim, you should contact a lawyer immediately.

Health Care Employees

A health care employee may not be retaliated against for communicating with the Department of Hospitals for the purpose of aiding the office in carrying out its responsibilities.

An employee may file a lawsuit in an appropriate court. The lawsuit must be filed within one year of the retaliatory action. If you believe you have a claim, you should contact a lawyer immediately.

Insurer Employees

An insurance company employee may not be penalized for reporting suspected violations of certain state insurance laws. To be protected, the disclosure must be made to the Commissioner of Insurance or to other appropriate authorities. An insurance company may be fined up to $10,000 for retaliating against an employee.

Labor Investigations & Proceedings

An employee may not be discharged (or discriminated against) in retaliation for testifying (or otherwise providing information) in an investigation or proceeding to enforce state labor laws. An employer who retaliates for this reason may be fined between $100 – $250 and may be imprisoned between 30-90 days.

Labor Investigations & Proceedings: An employee may file a complaint with the Louisiana Department of Labor, Office of Regulatory Services. The Department will hold an adjudicatory hearing and may impose civil penalties or file a lawsuit.

Public Employees

A public employee may be protected from retaliation where they have reported a violation of a rule, law, or regulation of the state government.

Workers’ Compensation

An employee may not be discharged for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Even if the workers’ compensation claim is filed in another state, or under federal law, the employee is protected under Louisiana’s anti-retaliation measure.

An employee may file a lawsuit in an appropriate court. The lawsuit must be filed within one year of the retaliatory action. An employee who is retaliated against may recover lost wages, up to one year. If you believe you have a claim, you should contact a lawyer immediately.

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