Blowing the whistle on your employer is never an easy decision. However, if you want to do the right thing, you should know that it won't adversely impact your employment.
Even though there is no place for whistleblower retaliation, it remains a problem. Unfortunately, the concern for retaliation is often enough to scare a person away from taking action.
What does whistleblower retaliation look like?
Whistleblower retaliation can take on many forms, including but not limited to:
- Termination of employment
- Demotions and reduced job responsibilities
- Pay cut
- Missing out on a promotion
- Negative performance review
Are you protected?
There are many federal laws in place to protect you as a whistleblower. The one that provides protection depends on your particular situation, such as the type of wrongdoing you're reporting or the industry in which you work.
Here are three examples of whistleblower retaliation laws:
- Whistleblower Protection Act: Since 1989, it's been in place to protect federal employees who report any form of government misconduct.
- False Claims Act: This law was created to encourage workers to report their employer for fraud against the government: for example, if your company is overbilling the government for services provided.
- Federal Whistleblower Protection Statutes: There are many examples of these statutes, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that protects those who report violations associated with securities fraud.
Are there state whistleblower retaliation laws?
There are also state whistleblower retaliation laws designed to do the same thing as federal laws. They typically focus on things such as wage and hour laws, workplace safety and all forms of discrimination.
It's your right to take action
You should never feel that taking action as a whistleblower will result in more harm than good. There is never a bad time to do the right thing.
Once you come forward as a whistleblower, pay close attention to the way you're treated at work. If you feel that you're being retaliated against, do the following:
- Talk to your HR department about what's happening
- Take notes and collect evidence
- Learn more about the many federal and state laws in place to protect you
With so many whistleblower retaliation laws in place, you shouldn't have any fear about speaking up.