In the workplace, your boss may expect you to always do as you're told, following instructions and letting him or her lead the company. Most of the time, you do exactly that. But then something happens that makes you realize it's time to take a stand.
Maybe there are unsafe working conditions. Your boss won't do anything, so you go to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and put in a complaint on your own. You don't want to be hurt, and you want to protect your co-workers.
Maybe there's sexual harassment in the workplace. Perhaps your boss has harassed you or indirectly created a hostile workplace environment. Maybe it's a co-worker who is being harassed, and you just can't sit by and watch it any longer. You file a complaint and take action.
And then you're fired.
It's a very real threat, and it's one of the reasons that employees often ignore things that they know are wrong at work. They want to keep their jobs. They have families, mortgage payments and kids to put through college. They can't afford to take a stand.
What you need to know is that being fired as a retaliation may be illegal. There are federal protections in place. If you're standing up for your rights, reporting a breach of the law or doing something else of this nature, employers can't just fire you to put an end to it. You may even have a case if you're threatened with termination.
Make sure you understand your rights as an employee. No matter how your boss wants you to act or what type of workplace you're in, you do have rights and protections, and there are legal steps you can take when violations occur.
Source: FIndLaw, "Retaliation and Wrongful Termination," accessed March 10, 2017