Federal whistleblowers expose wrongdoing and ensure transparency in government agencies. They are individuals who report misconduct, fraud or violations of the law within federal organizations.
To protect these brave individuals, the law provides specific rights and safeguards. If you are about to blow the whistle, it is important to understand the rights that will secure your livelihood.
Protection from retaliation
Federal whistleblowers have protection from any form of retaliation. This means that your employer cannot fire you, demote you or otherwise mistreat you in response to your disclosure of wrongdoing.
Whistleblowers have the right to keep their identity confidential. You can make your disclosure anonymously, allowing you to report misconduct without fear of personal repercussions.
Right to file complaints
Whistleblowers have the right to file a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel if they believe they have faced retaliation for their disclosure. The OSC investigates these claims and ensures that the rights of federal whistleblowers are upheld.
In some cases, federal whistleblowers may receive financial rewards. If your disclosure leads to successful legal action or the recovery of funds, you may receive a portion of the recovered amount as a reward.
Legal protection from disclosure
Federal whistleblowers are legally protected from having their disclosure used against them in legal proceedings. Keep in mind that you may lose this right if you fail to follow proper reporting procedures.
The Office of Public Affairs reports that whistleblowers filed 652 qui tam suits in fiscal year 2022. This resulted in the second-highest number of False Claim Act settlements in history, suggesting that your rights as a federal whistleblower matter now more than ever.