There is a wide variety of state and federal statutes designed to encourage employees in both the public and private sectors to “blow the whistle” on conduct by an employer or an employer’s agents which they believe may be unlawful, constitute a gross misuse of public funds, or else pose an imminent threat to the health and safety of others.The majority of these statutes establish fairly robust protections against retaliation by an employer for employees who report such unlawful conduct or waste. Chief among these are those statutes and regulations enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), such as the Occupational Safety & Health Act, the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and various environmental protection laws. Additionally, the Murphy Law Group often encounters violations of the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law (PAWBL) as well as the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA).Finally, the federal False Claims Act and the Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Program both provide substantial monetary incentives – in addition to anti-retaliation protections – with the goal of encouraging employees to come forward with information concerning certain fraudulent conduct by government contractors and other employers.
Nevertheless, the scope and level of the protection offered by these laws often varies considerably. For example, the PAWBL offers strong anti-retaliation protections, but generally only applies to individuals employed by a “public body” or for a private employer who receives certain public funds. On the other hand, the Occupational Safety & Health Act protects private sector employees from retaliation for reporting, among other things, unsafe working conditions, but establishes a strict thirty (30) day timeframe in which an employee who has been retaliated against must submit a complaint to OSHA or risk forfeiting his or her right to relief entirely.
If you believe you have been demoted, discharged, terminated, or otherwise retaliated against for reporting conduct which you believe to be fraudulent or unlawful to your employer or a local, state, or federal agency, you should contact our firm to discuss whether your situation may be covered by one or more of the numerous whistleblower statutes under state and federal law.