Does the Law Protect the Whistleblower?

There Are Significant Protections for Individuals Who Turn Their Employers in For Violating Laws in Ways that Amount to Felonies or Acting in Ways that Jeopardize the Public’s Health or Safety. the Law Also Guards Against Adverse Job Action Being Taken After Public Employees Point out Instances of Budget Abuse or Failure of Management to Abide by Laws or Regulations Governing the Administration of Public Services. Anyone Reporting a Violation of Occupational Health and Safety Regulations to The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Has Additional Protections Under Federal Law.

But not all “whistleblowers” can take advantage of those protections under all circumstances. Laws protecting the “whistleblower” spell out precisely who is covered by the protections afforded under the statute, the steps the whistleblower must first have taken to secure management’s cooperation in recognizing and solving the problem, and the precise steps the whistleblower must then take—and the time frame during which those additional steps must be taken—to preserve his or her rights to protection under the whistleblower law.

If an employer is able to show that its employee either did not have a good faith basis for approaching authorities, did not make a good faith effort to determine the accuracy of the information reported to authorities, or did not otherwise follow the steps that would entitle the employee to whistleblower protection, the employer can avoid liability under the whistleblower law.

The time for laying the foundation for full protection as an employee with whistleblower status under the law is before you take any steps to report the information you have to someone outside of the company. If you are in that position and wonder whether the whistleblower law might help you, contact my office for an appointment to discuss your individual circumstances.