The U.S. Whistleblower Laws You’ve Never Heard About


By now, you have probably heard about the False Claims Act, the Dodd-Frank Act and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Depending on your field, you may be aware of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Whistleblower Law, which gives rewards of 15 to 30 percent of the amount collected by the government to tipsters who give the IRS information of tax fraud exceeding $2 million. Yet, the U.S. has many more whistleblower laws tailored to various industries.

Consumer Finance Protection — Part of the Dodd-Frank laws, the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 shields whistleblowers reporting violations of federal laws related to financial products and services.

Consumer Products Safety — Enacted in 2008, the Consumer Products Safety Act protects those who blow the whistle on violations of consumer products safety standards.

Nuclear Safety — The Energy Reorganization Act shields whistleblowers reporting on violations in the fields of nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

Environmental Protection — There are numerous environmental laws that have their own whistleblower provisions to protect tipsters reporting various environmental violations.

Airline Safety — Reporters of airline safety violations are protected by the Aviation Investment and Reform Act.

Pipeline Safety — The Pipeline Safety Act has whistleblower provisions to protect tipsters who report violations at gas and oil pipelines.

Transportation Safety — Amended in 2007, the Surface Transportation Act offers enhanced protections for whistleblowers reporting on safety violations relating to trucks, freight handlers, railroads and public transportation.

Mine Safety — Tipsters giving information on health and safety violations in mines may avail themselves of protection from the Mine Health and Safety Act.

Maritime Safety — The Protection of Seaman Against Discrimination Law guards whistleblowers from retaliation when they report violations of maritime laws.

Food Product Safety — The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 was enacted in response to numerous wide-scale food contamination incidents. It provides protection to people blowing the whistle on food safety standards violations.

This is just a sampling of federal laws designed to shield people who blow the whistle on legal and ethical violations. More than two dozen states have whistleblower laws that offer varying degrees of protection.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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