Public Whistleblowers

Rob Wiley: My name is Rob Wiley and today I'm going to be speaking with Austin employment lawyer Colin Walsh about government employees in Texas who are whistleblowers. Now obviously we want good governments and so we have passed laws that protect public sector whistleblowers. Colin do you want to talk about how a public sector whistleblower case unfolds.

Colin Walsh: Sure so the important thing here is that you should contact an employment attorney to talk about this because it's a complicated law but essentially what happens is an employee will find something unlawful or illegal, report it and then get retaliated against.

Rob Wiley: And I think this is an area where it is important to talk to an attorney. Ideally when you go and you report something wrong in the public sector the government agency will do the right thing and it will stop the illegality and it won't punish the employee but we know that all too often what happens is that an employee suffers retaliation so I think it's important to have an attorney involved as soon as you find out about the illegal act so that you can minimize the potential for retaliation against you if you go and report it. The other issue about this is that the State of Texas requires certain kinds of reporting; specifically you've got to report it to law enforcement and that is something that an attorney can help you with. It's important to make the complaint in a way that will protect the employee from retaliation.

Colin Walsh: That is definitely true and in fact the State of Texas requires that employees make a report to an appropriate law enforcement authority and we've seen cases where employees are not protected because they call ethnics hotline or go to the internal H.R. representative or even just report it to their supervisor. That's why it's important to get an employment attorney involved to help make sure that you report this unlawful behavior.

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