The National Whistleblower Protection Act or the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, is a federal law designed to protect the rights of those who report government wrongdoing. It was drafted by Rep. James McDougall (D-WV), Rep. Robert Barr (R-KY) and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA). While the act only applies to employees of the federal government, there are some important circumstances in which it can be used by contractors and subcontractors as well.
Employees of the government, including those in the private sector, may use their whistle blowing rights to protect themselves and their families. In order to do this, they must first consult an attorney. If they are not protected under the law, an employee must go through a lengthy legal process to determine whether they are protected. There are also several other requirements that need to be met, including the amount of time the whistle blower has been employed with the government.
There are some instances when employees cannot assert their whistle blowing rights, if they are subjected to sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can include sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, such as propositioning or dancing. Under the whistleblower law, such acts are considered unlawful sexual harassment, even if they have occurred while the employee was engaged in the performance of his duties.
Employees also have the right to use their whistle blowing rights to protect other employees from being subjected to unlawful harassment. If a supervisor or another manager in the company makes harassing comments to a coworker about an ongoing sexual harassment incident, that coworker has the right to report the harassment. The person reporting the harassment must show that the supervisor's conduct was a basis for his or her complaint.
Another situation in which an employee is allowed to use his whistle blowing rights is to protect him or herself if they have been the target of a wrongful termination or other kind of discrimination. If an employee is discriminated against due to sex, age, race, disability, religious beliefs, or any other characteristic, the employee has the right to use the whistleblower law as an effective legal protection against such mistreatment. It does not matter if the employer claims that such treatment was not intentional. In order to succeed in this case, the employee must show that the employer was aware of the prohibited behavior and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent or remedy it.
Even though some of the whistle blowing rights are intended for the protection of a specific set of circumstances, many employees are able to benefit from them. An employee working for the federal government has certain specific protections against harassment, and other mistreatment that may not apply to a contractor or subcontractor. If your employer does not give you the right to protect yourself from mistreatment, consult a legal professional with experience in whistleblower law.