According to the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA), employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who disclose information they believe to be evidence of the employer’s violation of law, mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, or substantial and specific danger to public health and safety. Other federal laws such as the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Toxic Substance Control Act provide legal protections for employees who complain about safety or health hazards caused by their employer.
Whistleblowers may not be terminated or indefinitely suspended for coming forward with sensitive information. They also may not have their benefits denied, hours cut, pay withheld, or be subject to intimidation, threats, or harassment. Most states, including Pennsylvania, provide additional protections for whistleblowers at the state level, allowing those who experienced retaliation to file wrongful termination suits against their employers.
Faster Resolution of Cases
Whistleblowers often face roadblocks such as lengthy cases and retaliation from their employers. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC), influenced in part by recent federal legislation, has tried to improve the situation for whistleblowers by shortening the length of time it takes for their cases to be decided and ensuring that retaliatory employers are held accountable.
According to the recently-appointed special counsel, one of whistleblowers’ main concerns is that their cases take too long to resolve. Advocacy groups have also reported that whistleblowers need a faster case resolution. The lengthy resolution of whistleblower or qui tam actions can be attributed to the complicated, multi-step procedure, as well as government understaffing. The special counsel has established an effective group to improve communication with whistleblowers and lead to faster case determination.
A recently-enacted federal law, the Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Protection Act of 2017, influenced the OSC in its recent efforts to improve the legal landscape for whistleblowers. The legislation provided enhanced protections to federal employee whistleblowers and reformed statutes to provide greater accountability for employers who retaliate. Under the legislation, employers are also required to go through training on how to respond to complaints regarding violations of whistleblower protections.
The Value of Whistleblowers
The special counsel highlights the value of whistleblowers, especially in large agencies. Managers and other top-ranking officials within an agency are less likely to know about misconduct. Employees who are aware are usually the ones to report an organization’s waste or abuse. Without them, certain forms of misconduct would be left unchecked. Therefore, the government and other agencies must do everything they can to ensure that whistleblowers who put their lives and jobs in jeopardy to disclose valuable information are afforded adequate protections.
Delaware County Whistleblower Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Protect the Rights of Employees
If you have faced retaliation from your employer, contact an experienced Delaware County whistleblower lawyer at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Our skilled attorneys are dedicated to defending your rights and holding wrongdoers accountable. You have a right to disclose information regarding your employer’s fraudulent actions without retaliation. We represent whistleblowers throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Contact us online or call us at 215-569-1999 for a free consultation.