What to expect during a whistleblower investigation and protection from retaliation

On Behalf of | May 4, 2021 | Employment Law

The number of whistleblower investigations in Missouri is at an all-time high. Whistleblowing is essential in the corporate world since it helps raise the alarm on corporate negligence, malpractice, safety issues, and law-breaking.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know what to expect during a whistleblower investigation. It is even worse since they don’t know how to protect themselves from retaliation. If you are one of these people, then read on for some valuable tips.

What to expect during a whistleblower investigation

Here is what to expect during a whistleblower investigation.

First, the investigative process starts after you file a whistleblowers complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). You can do this in person or through the mail, telephone, or fax. When making the complaint, ensure you provide correct and current contact information as failure to do this may lead to cancellation.

During the investigation, you will be referred to as the complainant, while your employer will be the respondent. Both of you are not permitted to retain attorneys. You will then undergo an interview with the OSHA investigator to ratify your allegations.

Once the allegations are ratified, you will be assigned a whistleblower investigator who will be neutral to both of you (complainant and respondent). Ensure you both have a clear record of all evidence on the allegations. These include letters, phone logs, emails, contacts, and text messages.

You will also be required to provide witnesses who back up your allegations. The respondent should also have some witnesses.

Your employer (respondent) will have to produce a position statement to OSHA. This statement is a written defense of the allegation against him.

How long do whistleblower investigations last?

Whistleblower investigations vary in length and can last anywhere between one year and ten years.

Protecting yourself from retaliation

Employment law is designed to protect employees from retaliation. Retaliation happens when upon opening a whistleblower investigation, the employer takes drastic measures against the employee. Such measures include demotion and denying benefits.

Retaliation is a form of harassment since whistleblowing is within your rights as an employer. The best way to protect yourself from retaliation is to know your rights as an employee.

Additionally, aim to remain anonymous throughout the whistleblowing process. Your bosses won’t retaliate if they don’t know you.