When you experience or witness illegal activity in the workplace, you may be unsure of what to do next. You know that reporting wrongdoing is critical, but what if your employer finds out it was you who reported the activity? Speaking out can be intimidating and overwhelming, but there are legal protections available to federal whistleblowers in different roles. Regardless of the nature of the work you do, the Whistleblower Protection Act offers you certain benefits.
The law recognizes the critical role that New Mexico whistleblowers play in bringing various types of illegal activity to light. One of the main benefits of the Whistleblower Protection Act is shielding you from retaliation after filing a report. You may find it helpful to learn more about what to expect as a whistleblower and what you can do to protect your rights and interests.
Reporting wrongdoing to authorities
If you are a federal employee, you can report wrongdoing or whistleblower retaliation directly to the Office of Special Counsel. Examples of the types of behavior most federal employees may report to the OSC include the following:
- Gross mismanagement
- Gross waste of federal funds
- Violation of a regulation, rule or law
- Specific and substantial danger to the public
- Abuse of authority
The OSC does not investigate claims directly. This organization reviews the claims, and if there is evidence of wrongdoing, they will pass the claim along to the proper organization that is able to carefully investigate it. If you are filing a claim under the Whistleblower Protection Act, you must be able to provide first-hand and reliable knowledge of the illegal activity. If you experienced unfair treatment after disclosing illegal activity, you may also report the retaliation to the OSC.
Proof of retaliation
When federal employees act as whistleblowers, they may face unfavorable treatment as a result. Unfortunately, retaliation is a common experience for whistleblowers, but you do not have to stay silent if you experienced this. You might have grounds for a retaliation claim with the OSC if you disclosed misconduct and then experienced unfair treatment as a result.
As a federal employee in New Mexico, you will benefit from an explanation of your rights and options after reporting wrongdoing at your place of work. There are protections available to you as a whistleblower, and knowing how to protect your interests may be a critical part of confronting unfavorable treatment and retaining your job.