Is a Whistleblower Protected?

is a whistleblower protected

If you become aware of fraudulent activity in your employment and file a complaint, you have protected rights and are guarded by the law. Whistleblowers provide an important contribution to society and help to report any harmful activities happening across the nation. When you decide to provide evidence of unlawful activities, you can undergo a protected disclosure. You can learn more about your rights and how you are covered by discovering more about the process.

Whistleblowers are Protected Within a Specific Set of Rules

There are attorneys who are dedicated to defending whistleblowers and will stand up for your rights. The government also provides incentives to whistleblowers, which include dedicated reporting channels and financial awards.

What is A Protected Disclosure

When you are providing a protected disclosure as a whistleblower, you can be shielded from unlawful retaliation. You have to meet two conditions to be protected by the government. First, you have to make a disclosure that is based upon a strong and reasonable belief that something wrong has happened. This can vary depending upon where you are working. Also, you have to disclose to an individual or organization that has the authorization to receive this information. For example, if you believe your employer is doing something wrong and you have evidence, you can offer this information to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline. There are different authorized organizations you can reach out to, depending on your industry and employment.

Guidelines for A Protected Disclosure

If you would like to make a disclosure, it must include gross mismanagement of some kind, a gross waste of funds, or a violation of a law or regulation. The disclosure can also be about an abuse of authority or a danger to public safety.
Authorized Audiences for Disclosures

A whistleblower is only protected if they contact the correct authorities.

If you are an FBI employee, you would be protected if you contact any of the following:

- Inspector General
- Supervisor in Direct Command
- Office of Professional Responsibility of Department of Justice
- Office of Professional Responsibility of the FBI
- Inspection Division of the FBI
- The Office of Special Counsel
- Any designated offices or employees.

If you are a Contractor and Grantee, you would be protected if you contact any of the following:

- Member of the Congress or Representative
- Government Accountability Office
- Inspector General
- Grand Jury or Court
- Official of Department of Justice
- Anyone officially designated to investigate these matters in your employment.
- Any federal employee responsible for grant oversight.

If you are a DOJ Employee, you can disclose information to anyone as long as it is not classified or prohibited by law for public exposure. This can include non-governmental audiences. You cannot disclose classified information as that is not protected under any disclosure acts. If the information is classified, it must be shared with an officially designated agency, such as the US Office of Special Counsel or OIG. The OIG hotline that is created for classified information is: (800) 869-4499. Additionally, if you experience retaliation you can report this information to the US Office of Special Counsel or OIG Hotline.

Learn More About Whistleblowing Rights

If you had an experience that you believe should be disclosed to protect others, you can find out more information at Any fraud, abuse, misconduct, or waste should be reported and you should not face retaliation.  

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Posted - 05/19/2021