Whether you are a state, federal or private sector employee, if you are victim to retaliatory treatment in the workplace as a result of reporting fraud, illegal activity or misuse of funds, you may have a claim as a Whistleblower.  The attorneys at Arckey & Associates are knowledgeable regarding your rights and the law and can assist you with reinstatement or recovering damages for retaliatory acts

State Employees in Colorado

Colorado whistleblowers who are state employees are protected from discipline or penalty for their disclosure of state agency actions that violate the public interest. State employees are encouraged to report waste and mismanagement of public funds, abuses of government authority and illegal and unethical practices.  Whistleblowers are protected from disciplinary action such as dismissal, demotion, transfer, reassignment, suspension, corrective action, reprimand, admonishment, unsatisfactory or below standard performance evaluation, reduction in force, or withholding of work, or the threat of any such discipline or penalty.

A whistleblower complaint for a Colorado state employee must be filed within 10 days of the discipline or penalty with the State Personnel Board.  Employees can receive reinstatement, back pay, restoration of lost service credit, and expungement of the records of the employee who disclosed information, costs and attorney’s fees.

Federal Employees

Federal whistleblowers who disclose a violation of a law, rule or regulation, gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety are protected from retaliation including any personnel action taken against the employee such as termination or other decisions affecting pay and benefits, undesired reassignments, negative performance evaluations, or a significant change in duties responsibilities or working conditions.

In 2012, federal whistleblowers gained greater protections under the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.  Whistleblower protection is now available to those who report information that has already been disclosed, those who disclose conduct to co-workers or a supervisor or make disclosures verbally, those who disclose the consequences of a policy decision or blow the whistle while off duty, or during the normal course of an employee’s duties.  Federal employees can be reinstated, or receive back pay, medical costs, travel costs, compensatory damages including expert fees and costs and attorney’s fees.  Some claims otherwise appealable may be appealed directly to the Merit Systems Protection Board within 30 days. Other personnel actions must first be investigated by the Office of Special Counsel. More information is available at www.mspb.gov and www.osc.gov.

If retaliated against, you may receive reinstatement, double back pay, fees and costs.

For this claim, an administrative complaint prior to filing suit in federal court is not required, and employees have six years from the violation in which to file a claim. More information is available at www.sec.gov/whistleblower.

Private Employee Whistleblowers

If you are terminated after asserting an employee benefit or a right or for refusing to participate in an illegal activity, you may have a claim for wrongful termination for which you may receive lost pay and emotional distress damages.  A wrongful termination in violation of public policy claim must be filed within two years.

If you work for a publicly traded company or other company that reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission, you are protected from retaliation for reporting alleged mail, wire, bank or securities fraud.  Employees who report such information are protected by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act from unfavorable employment action such as firing or layoff, blacklisting, intimidation, demoting, denying overtime or promotion, disciplining, denying benefits, failing to hire, denying overtime or benefits, reducing pay or hours, reassignment affecting prospects for promotion, and failing to hire.

Complaints must be filed with OSHA within 180 days.  More information is available at www.osha.gov. OSHA also enforces various laws that protect whistleblowers who report illegal conduct in industries such as transportation, environmental and consumer protection.  For a complete list and their filing requirements visit www.whistleblowers.gov.

Under the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, employees who provide information to the SEC about possible securities law violations may receive a significant bounty for their disclosures of previously unreported information of up to 30 percent of the monies recovered in a government enforcement action in which the recovery exceeds $1 million.