Whistleblowers exist in every industry but the laws and government departments that handle each complaint vary. It depends on what the issue is at the heart of the complaint. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had 1,891 whistleblower reports in the 2022 fiscal year.
Regardless of which government agency handles the report, every whistleblower has protection against retaliation. Knowing how to recognize the signs of retaliation can ensure you get the full protection of the law.
Pay close attention to sudden negative changes in your work relationships. Look for colleagues avoiding conversations or excluding you from social events. Keep an eye out for changes in the way others treat you, such as being hostile toward you. Retaliation often involves making someone feel unwelcome to cause them to reconsider their employment.
Unexplained changes in job assignments or responsibilities could be another indication of retaliation. Examples would be receiving fewer opportunities or a transfer to less desirable tasks without a clear explanation.
Keep an eye on your performance evaluations. Whistleblower retaliation may manifest through unjustifiably negative feedback or sudden drops in performance ratings. You may notice your reviews do not align with your actual work or criticisms seem baseless.
Denial of promotions or career advancements without a valid reason is another potential sign of retaliation. A sudden halt in your career progression, especially if you have a history of stellar performance, is cause for concern.
You may experience more scrutiny and surveillance of your work. Watch for an increase in the monitoring of your work.
Recognizing whistleblower retaliation can help you to address potential issues early on and seek support when needed. A workplace culture should value transparency and accountability. Organizations must encourage a safe environment for employees to speak out against misconduct without fear of reprisal.