A Quick Guide to Federal “Whistleblower” Protection Laws

Washington WhistleblowersAn employee who identifies unsafe or illegal behavior carried out by his or her employer and lets the appropriate authorities know about the problem is known as a “whistleblower.” 

Many of the problems whistleblowers uncover are related to workplace health and safety, which is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees many of the whistleblower protections in federal law.

Whistleblower protection laws that OSHA helps enforce include:

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), which governs a wide range of issues relating to workplace safety and health hazards, including inspections.
  • The Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA), which governs employees and some independent contractors in the trucking industry, as well as complaints about vehicle safety, health, or security issues.
  • The International Safe Container Act (ISCA), which governs safety and health issues related to cargo containers,
  • The Energy Reorganization Act (ERA), which governs some violations related to nuclear safety rules in the nuclear power and nuclear medicine industries.
  • The Clean Air Act (CAA), Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), and many other environmental acts, which contain whistleblower protections for those who expose possible violations of environmental laws and regulations.
  • The Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act, Title VIII of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), which governs violations of federal securities law statutes as well as some other types of violations, like mail, wire, or banking statutes.
  • The False Claims Act, which bars fraud against the government, such as contractor fraud or medicare fraud, prohibits retaliation against the employee who investigates fraud, and allows a whistleblower to obtain a share of the recovery if the government finds that it was defrauded and pursues compensation.

Whistleblower protections exist as a part of other state and federal laws as well.  If you’ve “blown the whistle” and fear employer retaliation, don’t wait: contact an experienced Seattle whistleblower protection lawyer at Teller & Associates, PLLC to learn more about your legal rights and options.



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