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Understanding whistleblower worker protections

Nobody dreams of being a whistleblower. Instead, they hope they never witness anything at work that puts them in a difficult position.

However, there are times when a worker realizes he or she have a choice to make. He or she can either keep quiet, hoping the problem goes away, or speak up, knowing that this could lead to trouble for him or her in the future.

There are many whistleblower protection statues enforced by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, all of which are meant to keep workers safe. Furthermore, they go a long way in helping workers realize they have rights in the event that they decide to speak up against wrongdoing.

These statutes contain anti-retaliation provisions. This means that employers do not have the right to discharge or retaliate against an employee because of a complaint.

Here is a short list of some of the whistleblower protection statutes:

-- Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act

-- Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act

-- Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

-- Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century

As you can see, these statutes pertain to a specific type of employee and protection.

The more you understand about whistleblower worker protections, the better chance there is that you will avoid trouble in this area in the event that you file a complaint.

As an employee, you have rights. You should not have to worry about being retaliated against. In the event that you are, knowing how to protect your employment is of utmost importance.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, "Worker Protections," accessed March. 31, 2015

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