Government whistleblowers usually have more protections than private sector whistleblowers do. Federal whistleblowers may have the Office of Special Counsel investigate their complaints. The Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) may also hear a complaint of retaliation related to whistleblowing. State and local government whistleblowers also obtain some protection, and they may be able to pursue relief through internal grievance procedures. At Rob Wiley, P.C., our Dallas lawyers may be able to represent you if you are a government whistleblower who has faced retaliation.Government Whistleblowers
Whistleblowing occurs when an employee or contractor reports that their employer has been involved or is involved in unlawful activities, such as legal or regulatory violations. Whistleblowing is often related to abuses of authority, gross waste or mismanagement, or substantial dangers to the public. If you are a federal employee, you are likely protected against retaliation for reporting legal or regulatory violations or fraud by your government employer. Protection is given under the federal Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 and the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012. In order to be protected by the law for making a report, you must have a reasonable belief that there is actual violation has occurred or is occurring. You should not file a complaint solely based on speculations or rumors.
Whistleblowing in a government context usually occurs when a government employee reports wrongdoing such as fraud or waste to a supervisor, informs the Office of Special Counsel of legal violations, or informs the Inspector General of legal violations. You are protected even if you make a report of misconduct while performing your usual job duties. If you faced negative consequences for reporting misconduct in any of these ways, you should consult a whistleblower attorney in Dallas who has experience in these claims.
It is unlawful for a government official to take or threaten an adverse employment action based on an employee’s whistleblowing. The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 prohibits retaliation based on whistleblowing related to governmental abuses. This law provides protection if your whistleblowing disclosures are a contributing factor in your facing an adverse employment action, even if they are not the only reason. The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 expanded these protections, such that TSA employees who are whistleblowers are protected.Retaliation
If you make a disclosure to the Inspector General, your complaint may not be confidential, and these officials might not investigate the allegations. However, you still will have protected whistleblower status, even if there is no investigation, as long as you have a reasonable belief that your disclosure to officials constituted whistleblowing. That means that you should not be subjected to retaliation for making the disclosure, and one of our Dallas attorney can help you pursue remedies if you have experienced retaliation.
There are certain benefits to making your disclosure to the Office of Special Counsel. Your disclosure to the Office of Special Counsel will be confidential, and the Office of Special Counsel can order the agency to investigate and report on what was disclosed. The Office of Special Counsel is supposed to let you know whether there were other ways to disclose the information. Even if there is no finding of abuse, waste, or fraud, you can pursue a whistleblower claim.Texas Whistleblower Protections
The Texas Whistleblower Act provides protections to state government employees against retaliation for whistleblowing. Whistleblowing might relate to disclosures concerning safety regulations and illegal activities, and it is often quite risky. The Texas Whistleblower Act is intended to encourage public employees to blow the whistle on government agencies and organizations. Retaliatory acts can include a wide range of adverse actions taken against you for whistleblowing, including termination, suspension, and other adverse employment actions.
If you are an employee of the state government who blows the whistle on your employer, it may be possible to pursue damages such as back pay, benefits, and other compensation. You may also have whistleblower protection if you work in the private sector for an employer that is defrauding the government.Consult an Experienced Whistleblower Lawyer in Dallas
If you are a government whistleblower in Dallas, you should talk to an experienced attorney about your situation. The attorneys at Rob Wiley, P.C. represent people in Dallas, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, Rockwall, and Ellis Counties. Call us at (214) 528-6500 or contact us via our online form.