Am I protected as a whistleblower?
From politics to programming, every day, workers in Washington D.C. witness unethical and even illegal transactions and interactions. If you have recently witnessed one such exchange, you are probably wondering whether or not you should report it. After all, if you blow that whistle, will you not be at risk for dismissal?
The truth is that while many employers do retaliate, they are putting themselves at risk of breaking the law by doing so. The United States Department of Labor makes it clear that as a whistleblower, you may be protected under the law. In fact, your rights may be upheld by an organization you may know well: the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
Not only are there laws in place to protect you as a whistleblower, but the OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program exists to enforce those laws. Here are just some of the industries in which you may be protected when reporting violations:
- Publicly traded corporation
- Public transportation agency
- Health insurance reform
- Motor vehicle safety
- Food safety
When it comes to whistleblowing activities related to workplace safety and health, the whistleblower statues also have provisions in place to prevent employer retaliation when you engage in certain activities. Some activities that are protected under the OSH Act include the following:
- Reporting financial illegalities
- Reporting a safety or health hazard to your employer
- Assisting with an inspection
- Filing an OSHA complaint
- Reporting an injury
While these activities may be protected, if you face retaliation from your employer, it is important not to deliberate for too long. OSHA does require that you file a complaint within a short time period after your employer retaliated against you. Remember that failure to do this may cause you to miss out on the 22 federal laws the government has put in place for your protection.
The information provided here is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.