I would suspect there isn’t a definitive answer to this question. Different regions/provinces/states may have laws addressing this issue. Or not!
In addition to demoting an employee for speaking out against them management may also have the option of taking disciplinary action up to the point of termination.
To compound things, if one works where a collective agreement between a trade union and management in place, there may be language addressing speaking out.
Even where legal language doesn’t specifically address an employee speaking out against the employer, an employer could still find alternative ways to punish the employee, that doesn’t even acknowledge the speaking out. There are often confidentiality, personal behavour policies & procedures in place, even when you are not at work, that would address speaking out against management.
Many years ago, I was terminated for speaking out against a senior manager who was a serial bully. I was terminated. I was fortunate enough to have a collective agreement in place and my union succeeded in reinstating my position and lost wages.
If you are contemplating speaking out against your employer or have done so, it might be an idea to seek legal advice.
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Rae A. Stonehouse is an author, speaker, and self-publishing consultant dedicated to helping others embrace constant improvement and overcome challenges. With over 40 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in psychiatry and mental health, Rae brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for self-development to his writing and presentations.
As a 25+ year member of Toastmasters International, Rae has systematically built his communication abilities and self-confidence to share his insights as an author and speaker. His self-help books and personal development presentations aim to have conversational one-on-one connections with readers and audiences.
Rae is known for his wry sense of humor and sage advice delivered in a relatable coaching style. After four decades as a nurse, Rae has rewired rather than retired, actively writing and pursuing public speaking. He strives to share lessons learned to help others achieve personal and professional growth.