The definition of a whistleblower, from the Government Accountability Project, is “an employee who discloses information that s/he reasonably believes is evidence of illegality, gross waste or fraud, mismanagement, abuse of power, general wrongdoing, or a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety. Typically, whistleblowers speak out to parties that can influence and rectify the situation. These parties include the media, organizational managers, hotlines, or Congressional members/staff, to name a few.”
Here are some famous whistleblowers:
- Daniel Ellsberg—Gave the “Pentagon Papers” to the New York Times in 1971
- Karen Silkwood—Raised concerns about plutonium safety in the plant in which she worked
- Jeffrey Wigand—Exposed his company’s act of manipulating the effect of nicotine in cigarettes on the news show “60 Minutes”
- Sherron Watkins—Helped uncover the Enron scandal
- Cynthia Cooper—The auditor who exposed fraudulent accounting practices at WorldCom
It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for whistleblowing. When employees report discrimination, harassment, file workers’ compensation claims, testify in legal proceedings, or bring illegal activity to the employers’ attention, employers cannot take adverse employment actions. Unfortunately, this legal protection does not prevent employers from terminating or demoting employees who report such activity.
Contact Deutsch Atkins, P.C. for a free phone consultation or an in-person consultation regarding your whistleblower retaliation claim. Our firm has offices in Hackensack, Bergen County, New Jersey; Rockland County, New York; and mid-town Manhattan.