Report: Whistle-Blowers Face Retaliation

Sept. 5, 2002
As many as half the whistle-blowers who responded to a recent survey say they were fired after reporting unlawful conduct in the workplace, and most respondents said they faced some form of retaliation.

The nonprofit National Whistleblower Center in Washington released its report this week. The Center encouraged Congress to pass legislation to protect whistle-blowers from retaliation, much as existing laws protect victims who report discrimination based on race or sex.

"There's a strong need for greater legal protection," asserted Stephen Kohn, the center's chairman of the board.

Federal laws help whistle-blowers fight retaliation for certain cases, such as occupational safety and nuclear power plant violations. Despite that fact, some 19 percent of respondents claimed they suffered from employer retaliation when they reported health and safety-related complaints and 10 percent said they faced retaliation after they blew the whistle on environmental problems.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, a government agency that protects whistleblowers in the government, investigates about 700 complaints a year from federal whistle-blowers claiming retaliation.

The report can be found on the Web site of the National Whistleblower Center at

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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