Whistleblower Protection Statutes 1 • Most states have whistleblower protection laws, although some apply only to public-sector employees. • Some whistleblowers are protected under laws that pertain to specific safety-sensitive industries (including aviation and nuclear power). • A variety of federal environmental laws incorporate whistleblower protections for employees reporting environmental violations by their employers.
Whistleblower Protection Statutes 2 • Federal government employees are covered by the federal Whistleblower Protection Act(WPA). • The WPA prohibits taking or failing to take a personnel action because an employee or applicant has disclosed information that is reasonably believed to show: • 1) A violation of a law, rule, or regulation; or • 2) Gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION UNDER SARBANES-OXLEY • Publicly traded company may not take adverse employment action against employee providing information or assisting in proceedings regarding • Mail, wire, bank, or securities fraud • Violation of SEC rule or regulation • Federal law protecting shareholders against fraud
Whistleblowers under SOX • Entitled to • Reinstatement with all rights • Compensatory damages including back pay with interest • Special damages, such as attorneys fees and expert witness fees
Georgia Whistleblower Laws • Code Section: 45-1-4 • Prohibited Employer Activity: No action may be taken or threatened by any public employer with authority to take, direct others to take, recommend or approve as a reprisal for making a complaint or disclosing information to the public employer unless information disclosed with knowledge that it was false or with willful disregard for its truth or falsity • Protection for Public or Private Employees? Public • Remedies: Can have any prohibited action taken by employer set aside in a proceeding in court