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California federal workers have whistleblower protection

Consider a situation where you want to report wrongdoing at work. If you do, will you lose your job? Could you potentially face harassment due to reporting the problems at your office or agency? Knowing your whistleblower rights can help you understand what you can do to report the problems at work without facing retaliation.

As a federal employee, you're protected from retaliation when alerting authorities about wrongdoing at your place of business. There are several ways to report improper practices that are happening at your workplace, including contacting your congressional representatives to speaking with agency supervisors. No matter how you do it, you're meant to be protected from the backlash.

Under the Whistleblower Protection Enforcement Act, also known as WPEA, inspector general offices must have an ombudsman. That is a person who is typically a senior official in the inspector general's office. The ombudsman's duty is to provide advice objectively to employees who seek it. The ombudsman can't represent the employee, but he can tell the employee about his whistleblower rights.

To protect whistleblowers, it's important that they know who the ombudsmen are in the agency. Places like the U.S. Agency for International Development or the Homeland Security Department haven't made it very clear who their ombudsmen are, but they have received a certification that ensures employees are given the right information about their rights to report wrongdoing at the workplace.

If you've followed the law and participated in whistleblowing activities but still faced termination or harassment, the law is likely on your side. You may have legal options that could let you seek compensation for your struggles.

Source: Federal News Radio, "Do you know your whistleblower rights?" Shefali Kapadia, Sep. 02, 2014

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