In the United States, legal protections afforded by the whistleblower laws
vary depending on the subject matter of the whistleblowing and the state in
which the case arises.
In passing the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Senate Judiciary Committee found that whistleblower protections were dependent on the "patchwork and vagaries" of varying state statutes. (Congressional Record p. S7412; S. Rep. No. 107-146, 107th Cong., 2d Session 19 (2002).)
Nevertheless, a wide variety of federal and state laws protect employees who call attention to violations, assist with enforcement proceedings, or refuse to obey unlawful directions.
The patchwork of laws means that victims of retaliation need to be informed
of the laws at issue to determine the deadlines and means for making proper
complaints. For environmental whistleblowers, you have 30 days to make a
written complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Federal employees complaining of discrimination, retaliation or other violations of the civil rights laws have 45 days to make a written complaint to their agency's equal employment opportunity (EEO) officer. Airline workers and corporate fraud whistleblowers have 90 days to make their complaint to OSHA. Nuclear whistleblowers and truck drivers have 180 days to make complaints to OSHA. Victims of retaliation against union organizing and other concerted activities to improve working conditions have 180 days to make complaints to the National Labor Relations Board(NLRB). Private sector employees have either 180 or 300 days to make complaints to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (depending on whether their state has a "deferral" agency) for discrimination claims on the basis of race, gender, age, national origin or religion. Those who face retaliation for seeking minimum wages or overtime have either two or three years to file a civil lawsuit, depending on whether the court finds the violation was "willful."
Those who report a false claim against the federal government, and suffer adverse employment actions as a result, may have up to six years (depending on state law) to file a civil suit for remedies under the U.S. False Claims Act (FCA). 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h). Under a "qui tam" provision, the "original source" for the report may be entitled to a percentage of what the government recovers from the offenders. However, the "original source" must also be the first to file a federal civil complaint for recovery of the federal funds fraudulently obtained, and must avoid publicizing the claim of fraud until the U.S. Justice Department decides whether to prosecute the claim itself. Such "qui tam" lawsuits must be filed under seal, using special procedures to keep the claim from becoming public until the federal government makes its decision on direct prosecution.
Federal employees benefit from the Whistleblower Protection Act (5 U.S.C. § 1221(e)), and the No Fear Act (which made individual agencies directly responsible for the economic sanctions of unlawful retaliation). The Military Whistleblower Protection Act (10 U.S.C. § 1034), protects the right of members of the armed services to communicate with any member of Congress (even if copies of the communication are sent to others).
The Hope Scholarship in Georgia is the only incentive to report corporate, government, or religious crimes. This scholarship provides four years of free tuition to a tech school or University in Georgia for children of whistleblowers or those researching corporate crime. For more information research Operation American Freedom. This information was placed here by a pharmaceutical whistleblower who quit his job after being instructed by the president of Company X Inc. to hide marketing materials from the VP of Regulatory Affairs.
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