What Protections Do Whistleblowers Have? | Barrett & Farahany

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What Protections Do Whistleblowers Have?

What Protections Do Whistleblowers Have?


By being a whistleblower, you are going against an entity larger than yourself. This can have profound effects on your job and your career, which begs the question of why you should take the risk. There are a few reasons you should blow the whistle, including:

  • Not doing so can potentially incriminate you later
  • Innocent people may come to physical or material harm
  • You may become a victim of your employer
  • You can receive a monetary reward

That being said, blowing the proverbial whistle can be intimidating, so both federal and state laws offer protections to whistleblowers. If you’re considering blowing the whistle, you should know what protections you are afforded so you feel more confident doing so.

If you need to learn more about being a whistleblower and the protections afforded to you, contact the attorneys at Barrett & Farahany to schedule a consultation.

Who Can You Blow the Whistle on?

You don’t technically blow the whistle on individuals. You can report individuals and then they are charged in a court of law. However, entities need to have the whistle blown on them because they are not individuals who can be punished with prison like a person.

These entities are usually led by a group of board members or executives. Depending on the supposed crime, one, all, or a collection of them can be found guilty of the crime you would be blowing the whistle on.

These entities can be small businesses, large corporations, charity organizations, and/or government entities of any level.

What Protections Do Whistleblower Laws Offer You?

Here are the protections that whistleblower laws offer:

Protection from Retaliation

Retaliation occurs when adverse action is taken against you for blowing the whistle on illegal operations. It can take the form of:

  • Firing
  • Demotion
  • Harassment
  • Pay reduction
  • Discrimination
  • Defamation

Retaliation is most common when the whistle is blown on an employer who has direct power over an employee, rather than a contractor or partner.

If you experience any of these things after blowing the whistle, you have the right to file a lawsuit for damages, in addition to what you would gain from a whistleblower suit.


While you cannot keep your identity a secret forever if you need to testify in court, the entity you are blowing the whistle on does not have to know it was you immediately. You have the right to anonymity for a time. If your presence is never needed in court, you may be able to maintain your confidentiality until you receive damages as part of the case.

If you signed a nondisclosure agreement not to report the business’s illegal behavior, confidentiality can help you avoid a lawsuit. While it is illegal for a nondisclosure agreement to ask someone to keep illegal behavior a secret, they can try to enforce it to financially hurt you. You can countersue in response.

Reporting Channels

You need to be as physically, financially, and professionally safe as possible as you blow the whistle. That isn’t possible if you have to report your employer through a public forum or your employer themselves.

For this reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a secure system for filing reports. This system will protect your identity until you have to testify, if you even do.

What Laws Offer These Whistleblower Protections?

There are a variety of federal laws that offer whistleblowers protection, and the majority of states have their laws to protect whistleblowers. The federal laws that protect whistleblowers in every state include:

  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act: Whistleblowers who report cases of wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, securities fraud, or a violation of any rule or regulation of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are protected by this law.
  • Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: This law makes it illegal for anyone to interfere with the communications between a whistleblower and the proper authorities.
  • Whistleblower Protection Act: This law protects federal employees if they blow the whistle on government entities.

Contact the Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett & Farahany for Help

If you plan to blow the whistle on an employer or some other entity that has exposed you to illegal activity, contact the whistleblower attorneys at Barrett & Farahany for help. We can guide you through the process of collecting evidence, help you protect your identity as need be, file your report to OSHA, and represent you in court.

You’re doing the right thing by reporting your employer’s wrongdoing, and you don’t deserve to be punished for that. For a consultation, contact us today.

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Barrett & Farahany

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Atlanta, GA 30326

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