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Explaining state and federal whistleblower protections

Most of us have heard the term whistleblower. Many know what this term means. Many also are scared to be labeled as a whistleblower for fear of losing a job, promotion or other benefit at work. Whistleblowers are employees who report violations of laws committed by their employers. The violation can be general in context or have been committed against the reporting employee. Today, we will discuss the state and federal protections for whistleblowers.

In order for a whistleblower to be protected under the various federal environmental laws, he or she must make the complaint about the violation to his or her employer or to a federal agency. The employee must also have a good-faith belief that his or her employer actually is violating a law. The employee who makes the complaint about the violation will be protected even if it is discovered that the employer was acting in compliance with the law in question.

If an employee believes he or she has been retaliated against for making a complaint against his or her employer he or she must file a separate complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This complaint must be filed with OSHA within 30 days of the supposed retaliatory action by the employer against the employee.

Employees who become whistleblowers are also protected under their state laws. These laws are typically generic laws that ban discrimination against employees who blow the whistle on their employers for law violations.

Are you being subjected to whistleblower retaliation at work? An experienced employment law attorney in Silver Spring can help you learn how to protect your rights as a whistleblower.

Source: Findlaw, "Whistleblower Protections," accessed Nov. 29, 2017

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