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Georgia Whistleblower Laws

When employees report ethical, legal, or environmental wrongdoing by their employers, they risk retaliation by their employer. Employees in these situations are referred to as "whistleblowers." Retaliation can take many forms including:

  • Firing;
  • Disciplining;
  • Demotion;
  • Denial of benefits, overtime, or promotion;
  • Reassignment;
  • Blacklisting;
  • Reduction of pay;
  • Reduction of the number of workable hours assigned; and
  • Fear or intimidation.

However, because as a society we want to encourage the reporting of wrongdoing in the workplace, there are federal and state laws, called "whistleblower" laws, which provide employees a level of protection from retaliation and ultimately encourage employees to speak out. If you believe your employer has retaliated against you for reporting a violation, make sure that you file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration within thirty days of your employer’s act of retaliation.

In Georgia, whistleblower laws prohibit public employers from taking action (or threatening to take action) in response to a complaint about a legal violation or breach of the public trust. It should be noted that Georgia’s whistleblower laws only protect public (not private) employees

The main provisions of Georgia whistleblower laws are listed in the following table. 

Code Section

45-1-4

Prohibited Employer Activity

No action may be taken or threatened by any public employer with authority to take, direct others to take, recommend or approve as a reprisal for making a complaint or disclosing information to the public employer unless information disclosed with knowledge that it was false or with willful disregard for its truth or falsity

Protection for Public or Private Employees?

Public

Opportunity for Employer to Correct?

-

Remedies

Can have any prohibited action taken by employer set aside in a proceeding in court

Penalties

-

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Georgia employment attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Information

Feel free to check out the links listed below for more resources relating to Georgia’s whistleblower laws. You can also check out FindLaw’s section on whistleblowers to get more general information on the topic. Finally, consider consulting with an employment law attorney to ensure that your rights are fully preserved and protected if you find yourself in a whistleblower situation.

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