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Being Heard: Whistleblower Protections

Did you know that reporting your workplace or institution to the federal government is considered a protected activity under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)? Some people may be discouraged from speaking out against repression, because they are worried that adverse action will be taken against them, including law suits. To further put your mind at ease, I would like to introduce you to a government website that can provide helpful information to anyone who might be sitting on the fence, paralyzed from indecision:

Understandably, this may not entirely convince you that whistleblowing is a protected action, as this website seems to solely deal with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). However, the rules and regulations provided on this website are not exhaustive. As you may imagine, there are many additional CFRs that further discuss whistleblower protections outside of OSHA. I would therefore like to direct you to an additional resource:

The above link refers you to the Equal Employment Opportunity Federal Employee Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation (No FEAR) Act. This law, which became effective in October 2003, offers additional protections against whistleblowers who engage in protected actions (i.e. whistleblowing).

That said, let's make clear a couple of the caveats. You are protected from discrimination and retaliation against whistleblowing. This doesn't give you immunity to do whatever you want. You can't spontaneously stop doing your job and play the "discrimination" card. You can't blackmail your employer (blackmailing is against the federal law). That is, you can't threaten your employer with protected actions to be treated favorably. If you are trying to get better treatment, make absolutely sure you are doing it the right way. Cutting corners can put you in sticky legal situations, which will only make it harder for the future generations to be treated the way any hardworking citizen should be treated.

The best way to have your voice heard when you're in a discriminatory situation is to make sure you understand the law, and understand it well. There's a saying that goes that people are dangerous only if they know a enough to cause damage, but not enough to do things the right way. If you know nothing, you're safe, and if you know everything that you're supposed to, and just follow the guidance, you are also safe. The troubles come in when you know you don't know enough, and you're too complacent to look the information up.

That's my two cents on this topic. I highly recommend when you have a minute to review the whistleblower resources and the No FEAR Act on your free time, so you know that you are acting lawfully, and are therefore protected. As Sun Tzu once said, "If you know yourself and your enemy, you will find victory in every battle."

Today's post is kind of short, however, this doesn't mean that the information isn't useful. Arm yourself with knowledge. As long as you understand your rights, you will know what you can and can't do. When your employer threatens you with lawsuits and litigation, just pretend to go along with it --- you know the truth, and you don't want your employer to know that you know. In other words, don't let the cat out of the bag. Pretend to be intimidated and coerced, and then proceed with confidence knowing that your employer is approaching you in this manner because they're scared that you'll actually end up reporting them. They are trying their best to discourage you from acting within your rights. Don't let ignorance be a reason you freeze up against your employer. Charge forward strongly and with confidence. One of the functions of Human Resources is to swallow up the weak. If no discrimination is reported, discrimination must therefore not exist.

Do not fall for these tricks! The law is on your side. Be reassured by this!

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