July 18, 2019
Under the law, a whistleblower is anyone who reports the illegal or fraudulent activity of their employer. Generally, an employee is expected to act in the best interest of the instruction they work for, but if that institution is behaving unjustly or immorally, the employee may report on those actions and be considered a whistleblower. In some cases, this is a legally protected position.
According to the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, a government employee who reports on violations of laws, mismanagement, the irresponsible handling of funds, or any general threat to health and safety, is protected from retaliation. Any negative action taken against the employee as a result of their negative disclosure can be considered retaliation. But even though protection laws are in place, retaliation still occurs.
If you plan on reporting on your employer, it is important for you to understand that protection is your legal right. If you are considering reporting on the problematic behavior of an employer, protect yourself from retaliation by taking the following precautions:
1) Document all of your communication with your employer, and keep a personal copy. Sadly, large organizations have been known to make reports and documentations disappear.
2) Keep track of timing. If you can prove that your report and the retaliatory behavior were not far apart, a judge is more likely to rule in your favor. Generally, no more than three months must have passed between the reporting and the retaliation for the retaliation claim to hold water.
3) Be able to describe how conditions deteriorated following your report, this will also help to prove your case.
Remember, when it comes to taking on your employer, you need to protect yourself with information and documentation.