What does the word whistleblower mean? It is a term used to describe a person who chooses to inform the proper authorities when wrongdoing occurs. For those deciding whether to report government or federal wrongdoing, it is a frightening prospect.
Many whistleblowers fear retaliation and how others will view them if they choose to call out wrongdoing. Here’s what everyone should know:
Does blowing the whistle do any good?
Contrary to popular belief, yes, it does, especially when a federal agency is involved. According to statements from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, blowing the whistle accomplishes several important things. Examples include:
- Whistleblowers benefit public interests and promote effective civil services.
- Whistleblowers help eliminate government fraud, abuse and unnecessary expenditures.
- Whistleblowers help to promote government accountability and reform while reducing federal wrongdoing.
When federal employees speak out against wrongdoing, it also improves how Congress and other legislative bodies fight against illegal or unethical acts.
Do federal or government whistleblowers risk retaliation?
Unfortunately, yes, they do. However, there are many protections in place against whistleblower retaliation. For example, the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 clarified existing procedures for reporting workplace wrongdoing as well as retaliation. In 2012, the Obama administration and Congress enhanced the Act to provide more protections for whistleblowers.
In other words, you have legal protection against unfair treatment, termination and other retaliatory acts after blowing the whistle. Many in Washington D.C. and other areas with a strong federal presence feel better when they have an attorney advocating on their behalf. Legal guidance from an attorney gives you someone with whom to discuss your concerns, find answers to your questions and protect your rights when speaking out.