As per statutes established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) there are programs in place that provide whistleblower protection for individuals who are ready to report health, safety, and regulatory violations in the workplace. If you believe that you have witnessed or been asked to be party to such activities and events in your place of business, you have the right to bring these concerns to the proper authorities.
But coming out as a whistleblower presents some potential negative consequences for the individual as he or she may be subject to harassment or reprisal by their employer or colleagues with whom that individual has worked. But with the passing of the 1998 Public Interest Disclosure Act, workers who come out as whistleblowers have been given a series of rights and protections against unfair dismissal and other repercussions that might arise as a result of their actions.
For those individuals who would still prefer to remain anonymous despite the many protections in place under federal law, doing so can help to protect your identity. That means you have the option to keep your identity secret from all parties, including the individual to whom you are reporting your complaints.
This does not and should not suggest that once you file your report that you will not come under some level of srutiny or suspicion by anyone at your workplace who may indeed believe that you have come forward as a whistleblower. Depending on how vocal you are about your displeasure or disapproval of the way things are being conducted at your workplace, you may be suspected by supervisors or colleagues.
There are other options available to you beyond opting for anonymity. You can also choose to file a confidential report in which the individual to whom you are reporting your information is provided with your identity but that information is kept confidential only a court of law or an investigation into the matter requests your identity be revealed. In many instances, a whistleblower may remain confidential for the duration of an investigation or a court proceeding.
Disadvantages of Remaining Anonymous
Anonymity versus confidentiality plays an important role in the investigative process. Choosing the former means that once you have reported what you know about the violations being committed, that’s basically the end of your involvement in the process. Anonymity restricts any investigators or other concerned parties from contacting you for more information.
This could interfere or even halt the investigation into the organization or individuals that you have reported on to authorities. Confidentiality allows for you to be contacted by investigators who may want to get more information from you before they present a case.
Even with the protections under OSHA and the Public Interest Disclosure Act, you should seek out a good law firm to help you navigate the often complex legal road that whistleblowers can sometimes face. Miller Law Group has the expertise, experience, and support staff to protect your rights under the law.