Federal whistleblowers calling out government fraud, waste, abuse and other acts of malfeasance are sometimes portrayed as material wrongdoers or even criminals themselves.
But only by the unlawful actors in agencies and other federal entities they target.
In fact, the individuals willing to step forward and shine a spotlight on wrongful acts for the public are arguably heroes. The risks they take in terms of sheer exposure and retaliation from powerful employers are outsized and can easily derail careers. They need safeguards and, as we noted in a recent firm blog post (please see our September 28 entry), they understandably hesitate to act “if their protections against retaliation are inadequate or even flatly absent.”
Government regulators fully recognize that, and lawmakers have responded with two pieces of legislation aimed at providing whistleblowers with the requisite confidence and legal armor to come forward to spotlight mismanagement, waste and other unlawful acts.
The seminal federal Whistleblower Protection Act
This legislation was enacted back in 1989. The act provides meaningful safeguards for individuals – spanning internal company employees to government contractors – who want to step up and report actions that harm the public. The legislation is broadly protective, sanctioning even a wrongdoer’s mere threat of retaliation.
The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act
Congress authored this act in 2012 for the purpose of adding supplemental protections to the original whistleblower law. As we note on our website at the Devadoss Law Firm, the legislation especially “addresses concerns that employees bound by nondisclosure agreements may be unable to provide details about wrongful or illegal acts.”
Whistleblower reprisal still occurs, notwithstanding legal protections. Individuals with questions or concerns about reporting wrongdoing can speak with candor and confidence to a proven pro-employee national law firm with a deep team of whistleblower-defense attorneys.