Federal Laws for Whistleblowers

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Find a Lawyer

What is Whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing refers to a person, usually an employee, that “blows the whistle” or reports their employee’s illegal or fraudulent actions to an outside agency or with the government. Whistleblowers are protected by a wide array of state and federal laws. Employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees who act as whistleblowers by firing them or denying them benefits. 

Which Federal Laws Protect Whistleblowers?

Federal law regarding whistleblowers has been described as a “patchwork of laws”, because the various regulations and statutes are scattered over a variety of employment areas. Here are some of the major laws that govern whistleblowers:  

Which Law do I Rely on to Report my Employer for Misconduct?

You have several options, depending on the nature of the employment. If you are in a corporate setting, you will likely be filing under the provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). If the complaint is about the Federal government, you will likely be filing your claim according to the False Claims Act or the No-FEAR Act. Several states have their own False Claims Act as well.

Can I file a Lawsuit Immediately?

In general, no. Be aware you will usually be required to submit your claim to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) before you are allowed to file a civil lawsuit in a federal court. OSHA is a federal agency that hears cases regarding discrimination and other employer misconduct. Cases must be formally filed with OSHA 180 days after the employee learns of the retaliation. 
 
In the event that an employer does retaliate against you, you may be able to recover for lost expenses such as back pay, and being rehired. 
 
The usual route for relief is:

Do I need a Lawyer if I Wish to Blow the Whistle on my Employer?

A lawyer can be a great help in whistleblowing claims. They can help you prepare the necessary documents for filing a report. Also, in the event that your employer does retaliate against you, it is good if the lawyer is already familiar with your case. Be sure to make detailed accounts of the employer misconduct, as well as any incidents of retaliation against you.   

Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 05-03-2010 03:07 PM PDT

Find the Right Lawyer Now

Did you find this article informative?

Link to this page

Law Library Disclaimer

Federal Laws for Whistleblowers, whistleblower,whistleblowing,sarbanes-oxley,false claims act,no-fear act,employer,employee,employment,wrongful termination,lawyer,attorney