Mississippi Whistleblower Laws

Whistleblower Laws as they apply to the state of Mississippi

A Summary of Mississippi Whistleblower Laws

The state of Mississippi is an employment-at-will state. This means employers can dismiss their employees for any reason or no reason. However, employees in Mississippi can still seek protection under the state’s common law protections, statutory protections, federal laws, or employment contract. Common law protections are laws that are created by courts to address subject areas that are not covered by the enacted laws, whereas statutory protections are laws that are enacted by the state’s legislature to address certain subject areas, e.g., whistleblower laws for public employees.

This is a summary of Mississippi Whistleblower Laws, make sure to check out the Federal Whistleblower Laws as well.

Whistleblower Rights in Mississippi

Common Law Protections for Whistleblowers in Mississippi

Mississippi has a public policy that is applied to the employment-at-will doctrine as an exception. Therefore, employers are not allowed to discharge their employees for reasons that violate the state’s public policy. Mississippi courts consider some activities as protected activities. This means employees who engage in such activities are eligible for protection under the state’s public policy. Some of these activities include:

  • Disclosing an activity that is in violation of a law, rule, or regulation.
  • Refusing to take part in illegal activities.

Statutory Protections for Whistleblowers in Mississippi

Public Employees

It is against the law for an agency to discharge, alter terms of employment, or in any way discriminate against a public employee in retaliation for testifying or providing information to a state investigative body regardless of whether the information or testimony was provided under oath or not. Miss. Code Ann. § 25-9-173.

Vulnerable Adults

No person is allowed to discharge, demote, alter terms of employment, or in any way discriminate against an individual in retaliation for making a report under this statute or testifying in an official proceeding under this statute. Under this statute, persons with knowledge or reasonable belief that a resident or patient of a care facility is being abused, neglected, or exploited are required to immediately report the mistreatment of the patient or resident to the State Department of Health and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Miss. Code Ann.§ 43-47-37(5)(b).

Whistleblower Hotlines in Mississippi

To file a complaint under the vulnerable adults statute, call the Mississippi Department of Human Services — Adult Protective Services at 844-437-6282.

To file a complaint under the vulnerable adults statute with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, click here.

Whistleblower Retaliation Claims in Mississippi

Unless stated otherwise by a statute, wrongful retaliation lawsuits should be filed within 3 years of the retaliatory action.

Whistleblower Retaliation and Violation Penalties in Mississippi

Unless stated otherwise by a statute, employers or individuals who carry out unlawful retaliation against an employee may be liable to the aggrieved employee for a combination or any of the following:

  • Punitive damages.
  • Reinstatement to the previous job position.
  • Injunctive relief.
  • Litigation costs, including reasonable attorney’s fees.
  • Plus any other relief deemed appropriate by the court.

Public Employees

Employers who carry out unlawful retaliation against an employee may be liable to the aggrieved employee for:

  • Back pay.
  • Reinstatement to the previous job position.
  • Injunctive relief.
  • Compensatory damages.
  • Court costs, including reasonable attorney’s fees.

The total amount that the aggrieved employee can recover is capped at $500,000. In addition, agencies which violate this statute may be liable for fine not exceeding $10,000. The fine shall be payable by each member of the agency’s governing board or authority. If the agency does not have a governing board or authority, the fine will be payable by the agency’s executive director.

Vulnerable Adults

Persons who knowingly fail to make the report as required by this statute or those who try to restrict another person from making the report may be found guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, they may be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months, or by both fine and jail term.

More Mississippi Laws

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