There are several crucial laws intended as protection for employees who report the unlawful actions of their employers, whether within the same organization to a higher-placed manager or outside the organization, to the government or the public. Without these, many people would hide their knowledge of wrongdoing, for fear of negative consequences like losing their jobs. Keep reading to learn about whistleblower protections in Georgia. If you or someone you know wants to report an employer due to awareness of illegal activity, get in contact with an Atlanta whistleblower protection attorney right away.
Georgian Whistleblower Protections: Georgia Whistleblower Act
The Georgia Whistleblower Act, also known by its initials GWA, serves as a shield for employees reporting fraud, waste, or abuse on the part of public employers. The law also forbids retaliation towards public Georgia employees for alerting authorities to broken laws, rules, or regulations.
Elements of Retaliation in Georgia Whistleblower Act
According to the GWA, a claimant proves retaliation when they prove the following.
The claimant must have been employed by a public employer before they made a disclosure that was protected under the GWA, and as a result of which the employer took a negative action against them. The claimant must show that their protected disclosure or reporting was the reason for the employer’s reprisal.
If the claimant can prove this, the GWA allows the employer the opportunity to defend themselves with a legitimate explanation, unrelated to retaliation, for their actions toward the claimant.
Federal Whistleblower Protections
In addition to the Georgia Whistleblower Act, federal law also boasts many whistleblower protections, including penalizing retaliation by employers. Here are some legislations passed with that goal:
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act established federal auditing and financial regulations for public companies.
Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
Passed after the 2008 financial crisis, this piece of legislation was meant to restrain banks from again engaging in harmful behavior as preceded the crisis. Part of that involved greater monitoring of financial products.
False Claims Act
The False Claims Act goes back to the American Civil War. Meant to stop the number of contractors dishonestly requesting reimbursement from the government for subpar equipment, it protects citizens who bring lawsuits against those whom they believe defrauded the government with untrue claims.
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
OSHA exists in part for the protection of workers who report dangerous workplace conditions.
Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA)
Similar to OSHA, STAA prohibits retaliation when workers refuse to violate laws that make commercial vehicles safe.
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
Finally, CERCLA penalizes employers who retaliate against employees reporting environmental pollution.