Many individuals in Washington, D.C, work for the District government, and this can be a very satisfactory endeavor. District employees often put years of hard effort and professional expertise in the workplace, which not only benefits the individual, but the District as a whole. Washington, D.C., government employees deserve to work in an ethical environment. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen, and the employee may feel both obligated and compelled to blow the whistle on unethical or illegal business practices. What employee rights are invoked in such actions?
An employee who suffers retaliation as a result of whistleblowing or is subject to another prohibited type of personnel action has options. He or she may choose to turn to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by pursuing a civil claim. Alternatively, the employee's case may go through an administrative review or be arbitrated. The employee has 12 months from the date in which either the violation took place or in which the worker first knew that the violation occurred to bring a claim.
If the employee's civil claim is successful, there are a number of forms of relief the employee could be entitled to. For example, if the employee was let go from his or her job, he or she could be reinstated to either the position he or she previously held or to an equivalent one. If the employee had accrued seniority rights, these also may be restored. Employees also could seek to have their benefits restored. Furthermore, employees could pursue back pay with interest, as well as other types of recovery, such as reimbursement for legal expenses and compensatory damages.
District employees should not be made afraid to disclose illegal or unethical business practices in the workplace, especially that which puts the safety or the health of the public in danger or that which involves the illegal use of public funds. Retaliation is illegal, and District employees have rights against it. Since this post cannot guarantee any specific result for an individual's case, an attorney could educate District employees about whistleblowing and illegal retaliation in the workplace.
Source: DC.gov, "Whistleblower Protections and Obligations," Accessed Nov. 6, 2015