I Faced Retaliation For Whistleblowing – What Can I Do?

You might have heard the term “whistleblower” and wondered what it means. A whistleblower is someone who exposes information about a company, usually one that he or she works for, that is illegal or unethical, or that violates standard business practices. Labor laws protect the employee from any retaliation from the company for exposing this information, including losing the job, being passed over for promotion or any number of intimidation techniques that a company might employ to keep employees from revealing potentially damaging information.

There are two main types of whistleblowing. The first type, internal whistleblowing, is where an employee raises concerns about an issue to someone within the company. The second type, external whistleblowing, is where the employee brings his or her concerns to an outside agency such as the FBI, the police or the media.

Many of the protections available to whistleblowers depend on whether the employee is a corporate worker or a federal employee. Corporate workers are protected by the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act, which protects employees from being threatened, harassed or discriminated against in the event that they come forward to provide information about an employer.

Federal employees have a different level of protection, the Whistleblowers Protection Act, which acts as a shield against any form of retaliation for reporting illegal or dishonest activities within a governmental agency. Federal employees face a higher level of risk due to their access to potentially sensitive government information, including classified information, matters of national security or information about elected officials, and special rules are in place because many federal employees have signed non-disclosure agreements.

Filing A Claim

If you are facing retaliation from your employer for whistleblowing, then you can file a claim with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. You can file your claim online, by fax, by email, by mail, by telephone or in person.

Much of your claim will be based on the retaliation that you have personally experienced, but there is general information that you should provide to make your case stronger. Make sure to include your job description, hiring and/or termination letters, a copy of the employee handbook, copies of your past five pay stubs, and a record of any disciplinary action you have faced during your employment.

In addition to your employment information, you can collect evidence that supports your claim, especially if you have been made aware of previous violations that were (or weren’t) reported. You should include evidence of other complaints your company has faced in your claim, along with documentation that supports your complaint, contact information for witnesses who can support your complaint and the contact information for people involved in your complaint. Providing this information will ensure that OSHA has everything they need to evaluate your claim.

Filing a whistleblower complaint can be an overwhelming experience and you might consider reaching out for help from an attorney who specializes in whistleblower complaints. An attorney understands the complex legal process involved in filing a whistleblower complaint, including the kind of supporting documentation needed for a successful claim. Having an experienced advocate working on your behalf also helps to alleviate your stress while also strengthening your case.


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