Congressional Documents and Debates, —". Vann was asked to resign his commission, did so, but later returned to Vietnam. Whistleblowers are protected from employer retaliation under the Whistleblower Protection Act.
Some laws clearly prohibit any discrimination in employment. While the legal rights of employees have increased, so has the sophistication of bosses who want to retaliate. Instead of discharging a whistleblower, they look for more subtle ways to apply pressure. Promotions or transfers may evaporate. Hostile remarks can make you feel unwelcome, like you are an outsider. Isolated incidents can come together to paint a picture that it is time to go. Can the employer convey the need to quit with measures that are safe enough to avoid legal action?
Across the country, bosses and workers are playing cat and mouse to find out. The courts have applied the same doctrines used in sexual harassment cases to protect workers who stand up for their rights. When courts conclude that the employer was trying to get the worker to quit, or made working conditions intolerable, then they declare a "constructive discharge," and allow the victim full remedies after quitting.
However, these doctrines are not yet specific enough to protect everyone who felt forced out. For more information on harassment and constructive discharge, see our site's harassment page. Causation can be proved either by direct evidence or by an inference. Direct evidence is evidence that the employer was mad at the protected activity.
If you or another witness saw a supervisor spout off about someone reporting a violation, that is direct evidence of the employer's "animus" against protected activity. Similarly, if the employer announces that whoever calls the government will be fired, or warns employees against reporting violations, that is direct evidence of retaliation. A worker may have a strong case even without any direct evidence. In some cases, causation is obvious. The boss runs into the office yelling about the so- and-so who reported a violation of the law.
Norma Rae raises her hand and announces that she made the call. The boss fires her on the spot. The timing and personal animus make the retaliation clear. Everyone knows that it is illegal to fire workers just because they are black or female, or because they organized a union.
When the employer knows that it is illegal to fire someone for a certain reason, they will usually try to cover it up. Still, advocates remain amazed at the cases where bosses put an illegal reason in writing, such as:. We had to fire him because he called the EPA on us. She discussed our wage policies with co-workers. Unfortunately, whistleblower and anti-retaliation laws generally take on the same rights and remedies as the law relating to the underlying right they protect, which means that they can vary widely from one another.
Some laws, like the Fair Labor Standards Act, gave victims of retaliation direct access to courts to enforce their rights to reinstatement, back pay and other remedies.
Other laws, like the Civil Rights Act of , and the new Sarbanes-Oxley Act of , require victims to file first with an agency, but then allow access to the courts if the agency does not resolve the complaint within six months. Since each law with an employee protection is unique, victims of retaliation may face a patchwork of procedures and possibilities. Employees who have the confidence to speak up sometimes have opposed various kinds of unlawful activity. For example, a member of a union safety committee may engage in concerted union activity, oppose an environmental violation, and complain about unsafe working conditions -- all with the same phone call to one agency.
In some cases, the activist may have opposed various kinds of unlawful conduct in separate actions. When the employer finally snaps, it may be hard to tell which protected activity provoked the retaliation. In these situations, it is hard to tell which law will be applied, or which will provide the best remedy.
The employer, when faced with a variety of charges, will argue that the victim made inconsistent claims and none of them have merit. Special attention, therefore, is required to make each complaint explain how the protected activity that provoked retaliation is protected by all of the laws asserted.
The analysis of which legal claim to pursue must start with a sincere attempt to understand why the employer retaliated. Did the decision maker state his or her reasons? Has the employer stated in writing a reason that is illegal? Do the circumstances of timing, animosity, or a pattern reveal what the employer's true motives are? If your company has a progressive discipline policy, was it speeded up or ignored in your case? Have other employees been fired for whistleblowing or retaliatory reasons?
If the clues point clearly to one particular unlawful reason, then it is usually best to pursue the remedies under the law that makes that reason unlawful. Other considerations can include:. Some laws completely omit any protections for employees to help enforce those laws. Tragically, the laws governing our health care, food and drugs contain no employee protections.
In some cases, courts have applied the laws against fraud, unsafe work conditions, or pollution to reach these situations, but some courageous whistleblowers still find that they have no legal relief. Our work continues to improve these laws, so that they are closer to New Jersey's example. Enron suffered one of the biggest corporate scandals in history thanks to the company's then-vice president, Sherron Watkins. She wrote a letter to her boss regarding the fraudulent accounting practices that equated Enron stock more to a Ponzi scheme than a publicly traded company.
She demanded that the company take action. Her letter became public five months after she wrote it and was fodder for national outrage against those heading Enron, along with its accounting firm, Arthur Andersen. In spite of the public and congressional scrutiny that followed the whistle-blowing, Watkins continued to work for Enron without being retaliated against.
Whistleblowers are protected from employer retaliation under the Whistleblower Protection Act. Employers must allow investigations to occur without taking action against the reporting party.
Understand the laws to ensure you are not subject to whistle-blowing, and follow legal protocol should someone report the company for infractions. Kimberlee Leonard has been helping businesses for more than 17 years with business planning, team development and sales training.
She lives in Hawaii with her son and dog. In a public statement made in , Pascal Diethelm and Jean-Charles Rielle accused Rylander of being "secretly employed by Philip Morris" and qualified of "scientific fraud without precedent" the concealment of his links with the tobacco industry for a period of 30 years, during which he publicly presented himself as an independent scientist, while obeying orders given by Philip Morris executives and lawyers, publishing articles and organizing symposia which denied or trivialized the toxicity of secondhand smoke.
After a long trial, which went up to the supreme court of Switzerland, all accusations were found to be true. The DOJ retaliated by pushing her out of the Department, getting her fired from her next job, trying to get her law licence revoked, and other means. United Nations International Police. Originally hired by the U.
She eventually reported that such officers were paying for prostitutes and participating in sex-trafficking. Exposed corporate financial scandal. Jointly named Time' s People of the Year in Diann Shipione, a former trustee of the San Diego City retirement board,  is credited with exposing unlawful underfunding of the city's pension fund  and the omission of multiple billions of dollars of pension and retiree healthcare debt in the City of San Diego municipal bond offering  sales documents.
Outlined the FBI's slow action before the September 11, attacks. Kirke Wiebe Edward Loomis. Department of Defense inspector general to investigate wasteful spending on the Trailblazer Project and the NSA officials eventually went public when they were ignored and retaliated upon. They claim that Thinthread was more focused thus more effective and lower cost than Trailblazer and subsequent programs, which automatically collected trillions of domestic communications of Americans in deliberate violation of the U.
Argentine-born Spanish accountant, employed by the European Commission as Chief Accountant, and notable for raising concerns about fraud potential within EU, neglected by the Commission. Glenn Walp Steven L. Glenn Walp and Steven L. Doran were hired to investigate allegations of fraud at the University of California's Los Alamos National Laboratory. They were fired after they exposed breaches of security as well as fraud and mismanagement to the Department of Energy.
Their investigation resulted in congressional hearings. Former FBI translator naturalized American citizen of Turkish descent who was fired in by the FBI for attempting to report coverups of security issues, potential espionage, and incompetence.
She has been gagged by the State Secrets Privilege in her efforts to go to court on these issues, including a rejection recently by the Supreme Court of the United States to hear her case without comment. She is now founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition NSWBC that is looking to lobby congress and help other whistleblowers with legal and other forms of assistance.
Frank "Greg" Ford is a retired counterintelligence agent with over 30 years of military service. After reporting to superiors systematic abuse of Iraqi detainees at Samarra, Sgt. Ford was judged mentally unstable by an Army psychiatrist and renditioned to Landstuhl, Germany to receive further psychological evaluation. In all following psychiatric assessments, Ford was determined to be of sound mind. In later interviews and press appearances, Ford also alleges he witnessed the diversion of U.
Courtland Kelley was the head of the General Motors inspection and quality assurance program for many years. He found faults in the Chevrolet Cavalier and the Chevrolet Cobalt, and repeatedly reported them, with little response. He thought his supervisors were more interested in maintaining sales and their own positions than with expensive recalls.
In , Kelley sued GM alleging that the company had been slow to address the dangers in its cars and trucks. Even though he lost the court case, Kelley thought that by blowing the whistle he had done the right and proper thing. Faulty ignition switches in the Cobalts, which cut power to the car while in motion, were eventually linked to many crashes resulting in fatalities, starting with a teenager in who drove her new Cobalt into a tree.
Thirteen deaths were attributed to the faulty switches during the time the company failed to recall the cars. Leaked top-secret information to the press concerning alleged illegal activities by the United States and the United Kingdom in their push for the invasion of Iraq.
United States Transportation Security Administration. Federal Air Marshal who exposed the TSA's agency-wide plan to remove Federal Air Marshals from nonstop, long distance flights for two months in order to avoid expenditures associated with air marshals lodging in hotels overnight. The plan was formulated in response to a budget shortfall due to overspending.
The plan was formulated three days after the U. Department of Homeland Security DHS issued an Advisory that warned the airline industry and law enforcement of a suicide hijacking plot in which terrorists would exploit U.
After outrage from U. MacLean was fired after DHS discovered he disclosed the plan. After Convertino testified before the U. Additionally, the Justice Department indicted Convertino for obstruction of justice and lying, which Convertino alleges is further whistleblower retaliation.
India National Highways Authority. Assassinated on November 27, Enormous media coverage following his death may lead to Whistleblower Act in India. First alerted the U. Accused Parliament members of invalid expense claims. United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office. British Ambassador to Uzbekistan who opposed the Karimov regime's use of torture and its other violations of human rights, and British Government support for the use of torture.
Nuclear power whistleblower Gerald W. Brown was a former firestop contractor and consultant who uncovered the Thermo-lag circuit integrity scandal and silicone foam scandals in U. System administrator for U.
Army Military Intelligence at the Abu Ghraib prison who publicly revealed the role of interrogators in the abuses, as well the general effort to cover-up the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse itself.
Former vice president at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Rost reported about accounting irregularities and other irregularities to the his management. He was then transferred from Sweden to a position in New Jersey, a change that he characterized as a retaliatory demotion.
He sued Wyeth, and the case was settled out of court on undisclosed terms. He reported this activity to his managers at Pfizer after Pfizer's purchase of Pharmacia, and later filed a False Claims suit against the company. The Department of Justice declined to join the suit as Pfizer had already disclosed the violations.
He was exiled internally by Pfizer and removed from all responsibilities and decision making, a move which Rost says was due to his whistleblowing. In , he testified in Congress as a private individual in favour of drug reimportation, a position strongly at odds with the official policy of the pharmaceutical industry.
In December , Rost was fired from Pfizer. Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman. Philippines Jueteng illegal numbers game whistleblower. Food and Drug Administration. United States Department of Energy. Toni Hoffman is a senior Australian nurse who exposed the medical malpractice of surgeon Jayant Patel.
She originally began to raise doubts about the ability of Patel with hospital management and other staff. Both doctors and surgeons who were familiar with his work were also deeply concerned. Patel became the subject of the Morris Inquiry and later the Davies Commission. Eventually the matter was raised in the Queensland Parliament. Tice first approached Congress and eventually the media about the warrantless surveillance of the U. Tice was a major source for the New York Times exposé and spoke out widely following subsequent disclosures by other NSA whistleblowers.
He was the first to speak publicly and openly with allegations during the era beginning with the George W. Bush administration which continues into the Obama administration. He had earlier been known for reporting suspicions that a DIA colleague of his might be a Chinese spy. Maria do Rosàrio Veiga. Enquired about a fraud, wrote a final report in Thomas Drake worked at the NSA in various analyst and management positions. He blew the whistle on the NSA's Trailblazer Project that he felt was a violation of the Fourth Amendment and other laws and regulations.
In April , Drake was indicted by a grand jury on various charges, including obstructing justice and making false statements. After the May 22, broadcast of a 60 Minutes episode on the Drake case, the government dropped all of the charges against Drake and agreed not to seek any jail time in return for Drake's agreement to plead guilty to a misdemeanor of misusing the agency's computer system.
Drake was sentenced to one year of probation and community service. Former chief civilian contracting officer for the United States Army Corps of Engineers who exposed illegality in the no-bid contracts for reconstruction in Iraq by a Halliburton subsidiary.
An American banker who formerly worked for UBS , Switzerland's largest bank, he was the first person who exposed what has become a multibillion-dollar international tax fraud scandal over Swiss private banking.
His home was raided in during FBI investigation of the leaks and he began to openly speak out publicly in Discovered that a sophisticated group of hackers were systematically penetrating hundreds of computer networks at major U. After informing his superiors at Sandia, he was directed not to share the information with anyone, because management cared only about Sandia's computers.
He, however, went on to voluntarily work with the U. When Sandia discovered his actions, they terminated his employment and revoked his security clearance. His story was first reported in the September 5, , issue of Time. The jury found Sandia Corporation's handling of Mr. Carpenter's firing was "malicious, willful, reckless, wanton, fraudulent, or in bad faith. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Exposed Philip Cooney , a White House official who edited a climate change report to reflect the administration's views without having any scientific background.
He was shot dead on November 19, , allegedly by a petrol pump owner from Uttar Pradesh. Executive at the UK bank HBOS who in was fired, allegedly after warning his senior colleagues that the company's sales strategy was at odds with prudent management.
In Moore spoke out about his warnings to the Treasury Select Committee of parliament during its investigation into the turmoil in the UK banking system. United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Aguirre was fired for complaining about special treatment for Mack, which prompted investigations by the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee , culminating in a joint report vindicating Aguirre. Food and Drug Administration , recommended that the product label for the diabetes drug Avandia include a strong warning that the use of the drug could result in congestive heart failure.
She was reprimanded by FDA managers, who transferred the Avandia safety review work to her supervisor.
Johann-Liang was vindicated in May , when the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine aired similar concerns about problems with Avandia, and the FDA finally requested a "Black Box" warning label for the product. Johann-Liang ended up resigning from the FDA. Student and lab technician who questioned Eric Poehlman 's integrity.
World Intellectual Property Organization. The facility is alleged to be one of several operated by the National Security Agency as part of the warrantless surveillance undertaken by the Bush administration in the wake of the September 11, terrorist attacks. Congress, and FBI detailing the chemical composition of dust from the September 11 attacks and its hazards to responders. She alerted The New York Times in  and said in a CBS interview  that the EPA explicitly lied about the danger of the dust which caused chemical burns in the lungs of responders , debilitating illnesses in many that included fatalities, and that it could have been prevented with proper safety equipment.
Jenkins claims that the EPA has been misleading about evidence of debris inhalation hazards since the s. She was fired and in successfully sued to be reinstated,  . Bowen III, the chief underwriter of Citigroup's Consumer Lending Group, began warning the board of directors about the extreme risks being taken on by the mortgage operation that could potentially result in massive losses.
Many of the mortgages were not only defective, but were fraudulent. Bowen attempted to rouse the board via weekly reports and other communications. On November 3, , Bowen emailed Citigroup chairman Robert Rubin and the bank's chief financial officer, chief auditor and the chief risk management officer to again expose the risk and potential losses, and claiming that the group's internal controls had broken down. He requested an outside investigation of his business unit that eventually confirmed his charges.
In retaliation, Citigroup stripped Bowen of most of his responsibilities and informing him that his physical presence was no longer required at the bank. Starting in , Resnick sued the pharmaceutical company Omnicare, a major supplier of drugs to nursing homes , under federal whistleblower law, as well as the parties to the company's illegal kickback schemes.
Omnicare allegedly paid kickbacks to nursing home operators in order to secure business, which constitutes Medicare and Medicaid fraud. New Jersey State Police. During his first few days as a rookie New Jersey State Trooper , Hopson witnessed an unlawful arrest and false report made by his training officer.
When he refused to testify in support of the illegal arrest, he was subjected to hazing and harassment by his fellow troopers. He uncovered evidence of a secret society within the State Police known as the Lords of Discipline, whose mission it was to keep fellow troopers in line.
Trooper Hopson blew the whistle on the Lords of Discipline, which sparked the largest internal investigation in State Police history. Hopson filed a federal lawsuit alleging that after he refused to support the arrest, Hopson was physically assaulted, received threatening notes, and his car was vandalized while on duty.
Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky Russian: Magnitsky had alleged there had been a large-scale theft from the Russian state sanctioned and carried out by Russian officials. He was arrested and eventually died in prison seven days before the expiration of the one-year term during which he could be legally held without trial. In total, Magnitsky served days in Moscow's notorious Butyrka prison. He developed gallstones, pancreatitis and a blocked gallbladder and received inadequate medical care.
A human rights council set up by the Kremlin found that he was beaten up just before he died. The ICIJ investigation also revealed that the husband of one of the Russian tax officials deposited millions in a Swiss bank account set up by one of the offshore companies.
In the months following, Kiriakou passed the identity of a covert CIA operative to a reporter. He was convicted of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and sentenced, on January 25, , to 30 months imprisonment. Having served the first months of his service he wrote an open letter describing the inhuman circumstances at the correction facility. Disclosed to a fellow whistleblower unclassified information which showed deficiencies in the U.
Coast Guard Integrated Deepwater System program and that contractors were failing to meet contractual requirements with apparent U. Was placed on administrative leave, threatened with criminal prosecution, subjected to a retaliatory investigation by Coast Guard Investigative Service , ordered to "cooperate" and had a weapon pulled on him in the office of the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General.
Leaked documents to the media that revealed the IDF had been engaging in extrajudicial killings. The leak suggested that the IDF had defied a court ruling against assassinating wanted militants in the West Bank who could potentially be arrested safely. A long-term employee of the Swiss bank whose final position entailed overseeing its Caribbean operations until he was terminated in , Elmer blew the whistle on Julius Bär in when he gave secret documents to WikiLeaks.
The documents detailed Julius Bär's activities in the Cayman Islands and alleged tax evasion. Convicted in Switzerland in January , he was rearrested immediately for having distributed illegally obtained data to WikiLeaks. Julius Bär alleges that Elmer has doctored evidence to suggest the tax evasion. McCarthy served as Field Solicitor for the U. Department of the Interior and as General Counsel, U. Section, International Boundary and Water Commission.
In , McCarthy disclosed massive fraud, waste and abuse by the IBWC, that imperiled the health and safety of millions of people on both sides of the U. In both cases he was forced from government service, but continued to advocate for the victims of government abuse. In addition, his scholarly publications have revealed the fatal flaws in whistleblower protection laws, as well as the need for radical reform of specific government agencies.
Since he has been collaborating with numerous European nations by providing information relating to more than , suspected tax evaders with Swiss bank accounts—specifically those with accounts in HSBC's Swiss subsidiary HSBC Private Bank. Former head of corporate communications at CIGNA, one of the nation's largest health insurance companies. He testified against the HMO industry in the U.
Senate as a whistleblower. United States Customs Service. According to Harris's book, Flying While Black: The book also details her allegations of mismanagement, abuses of authority , prohibited personnel practices, waste, fraud, violation of laws, rules and regulations, corruption, nepotism, cronyism, favoritism, workplace violence, racial and sexual harassment, sexism, intimidation, on and off the job stalking, etc.
Customs and other federal agencies. An Iranian physician who reported on the state use of torture on political prisoners. He died of poisoning shortly thereafter. Former Pfizer sales representative and West Point graduate  whose whistleblower "qui tam" lawsuit launched a massive government investigation into Pfizer's illegal and dangerous marketing of Bextra, a prescription painkiller. Nine sales representatives for Eli Lilly filed separate qui tam lawsuits against the company for illegally marketing the drug Zyprexa for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
The Government's investigation was triggered by a lawsuit filed by nine sales representatives Realtors. Belarus Ministry of Internal Affairs. Filed suit under the Dodd Frank Act whistleblower program regarding alleged corrupt practices including robosigning at JP Morgan. Andrew Maguire is a British commodities trader and whistleblower.
He presented evidence to United States regulators alleging that fraud had been committed, and that prices in the international gold and silver markets had been manipulated. Army intelligence analyst who released the largest set of classified documents ever, mostly published by WikiLeaks and their media partners.
The material included videos of the July 12, Baghdad airstrike and the Granai airstrike in Afghanistan; , United States diplomatic cables ; and , army reports that came to be known as the Iraq War logs and Afghan War logs. Corporate president, revealed past losses concealed and written off via excessive fee payments . Exposed serious corrupt practices at high levels.
Government by submitting unfinished background investigations to the government for payment. These encompassed charges of money laundering for drug traffickers, terrorist financiers, and nations under U. Ward Diesel Filter Systems, Inc.
Ward Diesel Filter Systems Inc.
OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than twenty whistleblower statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace safety and health, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, . A whistle-blower exposes any information or activity deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within an organization. Employees complaining about illegal or unethical conduct can generate whistle. Jun 29, · Whistle-blowing covers many areas of business in every industry, including but not limited to internal discrimination, predatory sales practices and dangerous working conditions.