What is a "whistle-blower"?
A whistle-blower is an employee who reports his employer for a reasonable belief that a law has been broken.
What laws generally have whistle-blowing protections?
There are many laws that provide this type of protection. The Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) administers provisions of the following laws as well as others:
- Clean Air Act
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act
- Asbestos Hazard Removal Act
- Occupational Safety and Health Act
In addition, the EEOC enforces the nonretaliation provisions of Title VII.
Federal employees also fall under the Whistle-blower Protection Act, which is enforced by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.
What discriminatory actions do whistle-blower provisions prohibit?
- Assignment to undesirable shifts
- Denying overtime or promotion
- Layoff or discharge
- Reduction in pay
Can an employee be penalized for bringing a frivolous whistle-blower discrimination claim?
An employee that files a frivolous or bad faith complaint may be ordered to pay the first $1,000 of the company's attorney's fees in defending against the claim.
Are there whistle-blower protections on the state level?
Yes. Not only do most states provide this protection, there are a number of cities that have enacted this type of legislation as well.