A whistleblower in a hooded coat and wearing sunglasses at a pay phone on a call.

What Protections Are Available to Whistleblowers?

Corporate malfeasance, government fraud, and other forms of ethical breaches can significantly impact society. Whistleblowing, the act of reporting such misconduct, serves as a crucial deterrent in maintaining organizational integrity and public trust.

But what happens to those who take a stand and report problems? To encourage and protect these brave individuals, both federal and state-level laws have been established. In our latest blog post, our employment lawyers provide whistleblowers with the necessary tools to understand their protections and to act without fear.

The Heart of Whistleblowing

Understanding what whistleblowing entails is the first step to recognizing its significance. Whistleblowing is the act of reporting illegal or unethical activities within an organization. It not only safeguards public interest but also ensures integrity within the workplace.

Why Whistleblowing Matters

Whistleblowers often uncover acts that violate the law, misuse funds, or pose a significant danger to the public. Their revelations can lead to corrective actions, protect the environment, save taxpayers' money, and even save lives.

The Price of Speaking Out

The decision to blow the whistle is not without risk. Historically, whistleblowers have faced retaliation, including harassment, demotion, and termination. Thus, understanding the legal safeguards available is critical.

Shield Laws for Whistleblowers

The legal landscape for whistleblowers is a patchwork of protection, comprising federal and state statutes that safeguard employees. These laws serve to prevent retaliation and, in some cases, provide financial incentives.

Federal Statutes

The United States has several federal laws specifically designed to protect whistleblowers. The False Claims Act and the Dodd-Frank Act are two pivotal examples. They offer protection against workplace reprisal and, in certain circumstances, award the whistleblowers with a portion of any funds recovered because of the incident.

The False Claims Act

One of the nation's most important whistleblower laws, the False Claims Act, allows private individuals to sue entities defrauding the government and receive a portion of the recovered funds.

The Dodd-Frank Act

The Dodd-Frank Act is a comprehensive reform of financial regulation. Under its whistleblower protection provision, employees of publicly traded companies can report violations related to securities law, financial industry practices, and more.

Steps to Take as a Whistleblower

If you have witnessed wrongdoing, there are certain steps you can take to protect yourself and ensure that the information you provide leads to effective action.

Document Everything

To substantiate your claims, document any related facts, persons involved, and the circumstances under which the wrongdoing occurred. This will serve as critical evidence in investigations and legal proceedings.

Report Wisely

It is important to understand the most effective and secure ways to report misconduct. The internal reporting process within an organization is often the best first step, but not the final one. Make sure to follow company procedures and, when appropriate, report to an external authority.

Maintain Confidentiality

In certain circumstances, particularly those related to securities and financial regulations, maintaining confidentiality is critical. Gather as much information as possible without risking exposure.

Employee Rights and Protections

Under federal and state law, employees who blow the whistle are protected from various forms of retaliation, including termination, demotion, and harassment.

Recognizing Retaliation

Your employer may retaliate against you in subtle ways. Look for changes in your job responsibilities, exclusion from regular company functions, or negative changes in your performance evaluations.

Legal Protections Against Retaliation

If you experience retaliation, you have legal recourse. Whistleblower protection laws allow for compensation, the reinstatement of your job, or other actions that can make you whole again.

The Role of Whistleblower Attorneys

Navigating the complex process of reporting and protecting whistleblower actions requires experienced legal guidance. Lawyers specializing in this area can provide essential representation and advice.

The Value of Legal Representation

Whistleblower attorneys understand the intricacies of whistleblower laws and can protect your rights effectively. They can also guide you through the process of reporting and ensure that your interests are safeguarded.

To learn more about whistleblower protections, or to speak with our experienced whistleblower attorneys at The Law Firm of John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, PLLC about your situation, call (202) 350-3881 or reach out to us online today.