Whistleblowers are people who stood up and reported public trust violations or illegally activity by their employers. Improper safety practices at the workplace or environmental violations often get reported. Such reporting, quite expectedly, gets resisted or even retaliated against by some employers. Laws have been devised to safeguard whistleblowers from employer backlash and encourage whistleblowers to come out in the open more and without fear when they come across wrongdoings.
Federal Whistleblower Protections
Several federal laws, such as the Solid Waste Disposal Act and the Clean Air Act, enact protections for corporate whistleblowers who talk in the open about violations that affect workers’ health or the environment. You could sue your employer for retaliation if it took adverse action (for instance, job termination) in response to the complaint you filed about their alleged violation. Other federal laws involving whistleblower protections are the Compensation and Liability Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Safe Drinking Water Act, Energy Reorganization Act, Water Pollution Control Act, and Toxic Substance Control Act.
To exercise your rights as per the whistleblower laws, file your complaint with the proper organization, such as the SEC or OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). The complaint can be filed online or by contacting any local office on the phone.
State Whistleblower Protections
While federal laws for whistleblowers relate particularly to specific laws, states usually offer an extra protection layer to people who come out and speak. Typically, these laws require the worker to draft a report in good faith, just like federal law, to be covered. You would not be penalized in case it’s proven that the alleged violation did not happen, provided your reasons for suspecting the violation were strong.
Employees who refuse participation in the violation or who cooperate with the formal investigation are also safeguarded by many federal and state whistleblower protections.
Most states offer protection to whistleblowers who are employed in public sectors. This includes elected officials, teachers, and police officers. For instance, if a government entity is misusing public money, it would go down as a public trust violation, and the individual reporting the violation would be safeguarded from any retaliatory measures the government institution might take against the whistleblower. Most states also have distinct statutes pertaining to employees working in the private sector, such as corporate firms.
If you think you’ve been a victim of unfair treatment for having “blown the whistle,” file a valid claim. Get in touch with a corporate disclosure whistleblower attorney for expert assistance in this matter.