The Connecticut Supreme Court recently made a new rule that protects whistleblowers in Connecticut. The rule only applies in Connecticut workers. The rule is based on the fact that the Court found that the Connecticut State Constitution provides greater free speech protection that the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution. Under federal law, there is caselaw that significantly and practically eliminates whistleblower protections in many situations. Now, with this new case, people in Connectictu are protected.
The competing issues are the following:
- The employer has the right to regulate the conduct (including speech) of its employees to some degree, and especially when the employee is acting in their official capacity as an employee.
- The employee has the right to free speech.
- The public should be informed of issues that affect the public welfare like public health and safety.
The Court's balanced the several public policy questions above in the context of the free speech rights guaranteed by the Connecticut State Constitution. The rule they made is that whistleblowers are protected from termination or retaliation for their whistleblowing in areas of:
- official dishonestly,
- deliberately unconstitutional actions,
- other serious wrongdoing, and
- threats to health and safety.
Time will tell about how this rule will be interpreted. But it looks like good news for employees.
If you or anyone you know is a whistleblower, and needs the help of a lawyer we are here to help. For this kind of case, we recommend that you consult with a lawyer before you make any significant decisions. If you would like help, contact the whistleblower lawyers of The Bartinik Law Firm, P.C. at 888-717-4211. Our main office is in Groton, Connecticut. We have satellite offices in Shelton, Connecticut, and also East Berlin, Connecticut.