What Federal Workers Need To Know About Whistleblowing
“Blowing the whistle” on your employer can be hard – even if it is the right thing to do. Whether you are considering reporting illegal or unethical activities, or you have reported already and faced backlash, it is important to know your rights.
At Passman & Kaplan, P.C., our attorneys can answer your questions and protect you against whistleblower retaliation. We are deeply familiar with the challenges that federal employees face in these situations, and we can help you.
Can I be fired for whistleblowing?
No, it is illegal for an employer to fire an employee as a direct result of whistleblowing. However, it is still common for employers to punish or fire workers who file a report. If you lost your job after reporting discrimination, fraud or other concerns, speak to a lawyer about your options.
What constitutes retaliation?
Retaliation is an illegal tool that employers may use to discourage future reporting. Retaliation can involve unfair treatment from your employer simply because you reported public safety concerns, fund mismanagement, labor law violations or other wrongdoings. When an employer punishes you or fails to support you equally to your colleagues after you file a report, it may be retaliating against you.
What counts as unfair treatment at work?
Unfair treatment and retaliation could include:
- Wrongful termination
- Demotions or rejection of a qualified worker for a promotion or opportunity
- Pay cuts
- Changes in work responsibilities
If you are a whistleblower, it is wise to be vigilant about your treatment following your report. If an employer retaliates against you, it may be liable to compensate you through a civil claim.
What are the fair reasons for dismissal?
Employers may fire a whistleblower for valid reasons, such as poor performance or misconduct. The reason for termination should be unrelated to the fact that the employee filed a report. However, it can sometimes be difficult to know whether termination is fair.
Is there a time limit for whistleblowing retaliation claims?
Yes. Federal workers must file a civil claim within one year of suffering punishment as a result of reporting illegal or unethical actions. If you recently discovered that your employer punished you due to whistleblowing, you have one year from the date of this discovery to file your claim.
We Will Advocate For You
Reporting your employer’s actions should not place a target on your back. Our lawyers have experience representing workers in federal employment disputes. Call 202-789-0100 or email our office in Washington, D.C., to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.