Does a whistleblower have protection to stay anonymous?

| Jan 22, 2020 | Firm News |

Being a whistleblower takes a lot of courage. Despite the protections you have against retaliation from your employer, you still risk quite a bit. However, employees speaking up about employer’s wrongdoings is essential to keeping the workplace safe for everyone. It also helps to prevent employers from taking advantage of their positions and committing crimes. If you are a whistleblower or think you may become one, then you may wonder if you can stay anonymous.

According to NPR, you do not have the right to stay anonymous whistleblower because the law provides no identity protection. You will have to speak to officials when making your report, which will require disclosing who you are and how you relate to the employer in the report. To provide information, you need to expose your identity. In general, the government or agency you report to will not release your name as a way to offer you additional protection.

With that in mind, though, there are no laws that prevent anyone else from telling people you are the whistleblower. Whistleblower cases can get really intense, which means having someone release your identity as the whistleblower could come with serious consequences for your safety. So, while the whistleblower laws do not directly protect you, you still have some rights to protect yourself.

If someone maliciously releases your name and you or your family suffer as a result, you could have a case in civil court against that person. In some cases, if your employer tells people, a court could see that as retaliation, which is illegal. If someone else exposes you, though, it is not a violation of the law.