As a federal employee, you might think that the chances of encountering illegal activity on the job would be lower than if you worked in the private sector. However, regardless of who your employer is, you still work with other human beings who are capable of making mistakes and having poor judgment. It’s also possible that the people you work with could violate the law, which would require you to speak up about what you witness.
Whether you have experienced harassment on the job, witnessed discrimination or noticed signs of illegal practices, you should not have to fear speaking up. Retaliation against whistleblowers is illegal, but it does still happen. What does retaliation look like?
You get demoted or transferred for speaking up
Whether you report internally that there is a hostile work environment or advise a regulatory agency about illegal practices, your employer should not punish you for doing so. Unfortunately, some people who bring problems to the attention of management or outside agencies will find themselves facing inappropriate consequences at work.
You might find yourself transferred to a different department, working a different schedule or even demoted. Any of those changes might also involve a reduction in your wages or your benefits.
You are fired immediately or for questionable cause some time later
Sometimes, retaliation involves the loss of your job. The people mistreating you or breaking the law don’t want you to report them again. In the most transparent of cases, you could find yourself fired with an hour of making a report.
Other times, supervisors might try to cover their tracks by repeatedly writing you up for questionable infractions. They might also give you poor performance reviews despite you always having had an excellent history previously.
If you believe that you are the victim of workplace retaliation, you may be able to seek compensation because of the impact of the retaliation on your financial circumstances and career. An experienced attorney can offer valuable advice and assistance.