Many times workers who observe fraud or violations of federal law – such as workplace safety regulations – worry that if they speak up, they may lose their jobs. Fortunately, several "whistleblower laws" exist that can protect you if your employer retaliates against you for reporting wrongdoing.
For example, if you work at a plant that fails follow certain OSHA safety rules and regulations, such as providing safety equipment and proper training when working with hazardous materials, and you “blow the whistle” on your employer, you are protected from “retaliatory conduct.” Retaliatory conduct is defined as “adverse conduct” and may include firing, harassment, being demoted or transferred, the denial of benefits, or any other type of negative conduct that is designed to “punish” someone for speaking out.
If your employer does retaliate against you, you may be able to file a lawsuit seeking damages. Similar to many employment discrimination provisions under Title VII, OSHA provides legal remedies to employees if a company takes retaliatory action against a whistleblower. If successful, an employee may be entitled to sue for both compensatory and punitive damages. This is to ensure that workers feel comfortable reporting hazardous safety or security issues, to improve working conditions for all.
Additionally, other whistleblower laws, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, protects whistleblowers who are employees of publicly traded companies from retaliation for reporting securities or corporate fraud.
The False Claims Act (Qui Tam law) also provides “whistleblower” protection if your company does business with the federal government, and you disclose fraudulent business dealings or violations of certain rules and regulations.
If you believe that you have witnessed fraud or wrongdoing at your work place, it is important that you speak up, and that you are protected in doing so. For more information, or for a confidential consultation, please contact the dedicated Atlanta whistleblower lawyers at Buckley Beal, LLP for an immediate consultation.