New Whistleblower Legislation – A Step in the Right Direction for Employment Rights

Jesci“What exactly is a whistleblower?” I thought to myself when first given the task of updating some content on our website. I had heard the term and had a general understanding that it meant you couldn’t get in trouble by your employer for telling on them. Little did I know there is an entire area of law dedicated to the subject and new legislation was bringing about some major changes.

Luckily, the law seems to be heading in the right direction for employees on whistleblower issues. The government has expanded the law to allow better incentives for corporate employees who are reporting fraud to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) including monetary incentives for certain claims up to 30% of total funds recovered as a result of the SEC claim. These changes were brought about with the enactment of the Dodd Frank Act, which also created a whole new office to handle corporate whistleblower claims.

But, corporate employees were not the only ones to see beneficial whistleblower changes as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was recently passed. FSMA gives workers in the food industry an easy outlet to express their claims against companies concerning food safety issues. The act is meant to help prevent foodborne illnesses and promote safety in food handling. Also, the government has extended the reporting claims deadline to 180 days for most all industries.

With giving more days to file a complaint and offering better rewards and incentives, it is clear the law is moving in the right direction. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) provides the ease of online complaints as well as the option to call in and give the complaints over the phone. These changes are all in an effort to give incentives to employees to speak out when they see things going wrong in the workplace and not have to fear they will be retaliated against by their employer.

We want these violations in the workplace to be reported for the safety of workers everywhere and for the safety of the general public. Some whistleblower complaints can uncover major health hazards, economic downturns or disasters. Please speak out if you see illegal practices or activities going on in your workplace.

Whistleblower laws continuously are changing across numerous industries to protect your employment rights by making adverse actions against you illegal when you come forward with claims against your employer. Please explore the Workplace Fairness Worker’s Rights section for more information regarding whistleblowing as well as any other employment issue. It is important to know your rights and make sure you are heard.

About the Author: Jesci Drake is a current law student and legal intern for Workplace Fairness.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.