One of the simplest ways for an employer to avoid some potentially headache-inducing legal action is to respect the rights of its current and former employees. Doing anything unethical or in violation of the rights of these people will practically assure you and your company of a lawsuit. Even though it may sound patronizing to hear that last sentence, ethical and employee rights violations happen all the time, so this lesson sadly needs to be repeated.
Look no further than a whistleblower lawsuit that involves the Georgia State Lottery. A former employee of the lottery was a high ranking official, and he was asked to present manipulated sales numbers for a presentation to the lottery's board. He informed his bosses that the numbers weren't right and he objected to this notion, but the presentation went ahead anyway.
Then, just a week later, he was fired from his job because "misleading information" was distributed to board members. The employee was understandably frustrated and filed a lawsuit because of the state lottery's "unethical and illegal" actions. At best, the state lottery was trying to shift blame for the presentation to this employee. At worst, the state lottery was trying to cover up their own failings.
The employee is not only suing the state lottery, but the president of the lottery specifically, Debbie Alford. She was one of the people that pressured him to present the flawed numbers, so the employee alleges.
Retaliatory acts towards employees and unethical behavior towards whistleblowers are legal nightmares for companies. So it is best to even avoid letting them happen in the first place. Respect your employees and uphold their rights to facilitate a happier -- and far less legally-murky -- work environment.
Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Former top lottery official files whistleblower lawsuit," James Salzer, April 23, 2015