A number of whistleblower laws have been passed into legislation with the twofold aim of uncovering fraud and corruption in places of employment and government and affording protection to those who help to uncover such fraud and corruption. Whistleblower laws protect employees against retaliation for complaining to their employers, unions, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), or other government agencies about unsafe or unhealthy conditions in the workplace, environmental problems, public safety hazards, and securities fraud. Whistleblowers, or those that “blow the whistle” on their employer, cannot be denied raises, cannot be transferred, have their hours reduced, or be fired or punished in any way because they have exercised rights granted to them through various forms of whistleblower law.

Whistleblower Legislation

Various forms of whistleblower legislation have been passed into law to

increase protection afforded to whistleblowers.

  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act: The federal law was enacted in 2002 in reaction to corporate and accounting scandals, including Arthur Anderson, Enron, Tyco International, and Worldcom. This whistleblower legislation set much higher standards for U.S. public company boards, managers, and public accounting firms. Under Sarbanes-Oxley, employees who report any misconduct in violation of federal regulations governing securities fraud are granted protection.
  • False Claims Act: The federal False Claims Act (“FSA”) allows private citizens with evidence of fraud against the government to sue a defendant on behalf of the government. Also known as qui-tam lawsuits, the private citizen may share in the recovery of the suit, ranging from 15-25% of the recovered money. 
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Act: The OSHA protects employees who complain to their employers, unions, OSHA, or other agencies regarding unsafe or unhealthy conditions or abuse in the workplace.
  • Federal Whistleblower Protection Act: The Federal Whistleblower Protection Act (“WPA”) is a federal whistleblower act that protects federal whistleblowers, or those who work for the government and who report government agency misconduct or fraud against the government.
  • Lloyd-La Follette Act: The Lloyd-La Follette Act provides protection to civil service employees. This whistleblower law protects the right of employees to give information to Congress or a member of Congress without fear of it being withheld or interfered with.

Speak to a Lawyer about Whistleblower Laws

If you’ve been involved in a whistleblower situation, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer to learn more about your rights and receive a free and confidential consultation.

Published November 17, 2011 by