Darrell Whitman, former whistleblower investigator for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration FairWarining Reports

Federal Agency That Protects Whistleblowers Accused of Retaliating Against One of its Own

For nearly five years, Darrell Whitman was a federal investigator who probed whistleblowers’ complaints about being fired or otherwise punished for exposing alleged corporate misconduct. He wanted to help whistleblowers, viewing them as a crucial line of defense against employers who violated health and safety standards or wasted taxpayer dollars. But now Whitman, 70, is […]

Mike Elliott, a former BNSF employee who sued the railroad for retaliation. (Photo by Michael Dwass) FairWarining Investigates

For Big Railroads, a Carload of Whistleblower Complaints

As both a veteran railroad worker and union official responsible for safety, Mike Elliott became alarmed when he learned of trouble-plagued train signals in his home state of Washington. Signals, he said, at times would inexplicably switch from red to yellow to green – potentially creating confusion that could lead to a crash. Elliott raised […]

iStock photo FairWarining Reports

Watchdog Finds That Nearly 1 in 5 OSHA Whistleblower Probes Are Flawed

Federal officials responsible for protecting whistleblowers and examining their claims of employer retaliation are mishandling nearly one in five of their investigations, a government watchdog reports. A review by the inspector general of the U.S. Labor Department found that 18 percent of the investigations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration lack one or more […]

Silencing the Whistle-Blowers

Last week Pfc. Bradley Manning returned to court for his final pretrial hearing in the WikiLeaks case, an appearance that has renewed debate about how to balance the imperatives of national security against the rights of whistle-blowers. But while Private Manning’s ordeal has received exhaustive news coverage, it may ultimately have a less profound bearing […]

Criminal Probe Spotlights Tree Poisoning to Make Way for Billboards FairWarining Investigates

Criminal Probe Spotlights Tree Poisoning to Make Way for Billboards

As long as there have been billboards, trees have been getting in the way. And billboard companies have been removing them–sometimes legally, sometimes not. Now a rash of alleged tree poisonings in Florida have implicated a top billboard company and sparked a criminal investigation. But it turns out that rogue behavior by billboard operators is nothing new.


U.S. Orders Bank of America to Pay $930,000 for Illegally Firing Whistleblower

Labor Department officials have ordered Bank of America to pay damages and reinstate a former executive they say was illegally fired for reporting fraud at the company’s Countrywide Financial Corp. unit. The award of $930,000 to former Countrywide vice president Eileen Foster follows a ruling by an administrative law judge that her firing violated whistleblower […]

Health Care Firm to Pay $150 Million for Defrauding U.S., State Agencies

Maxim Healthcare Services has agreed to pay $150 million to settle criminal and civil charges that it fraudulently overbilled federal and state health-care benefits programs. The Columbia, Md.,-based company also entered into a criminal deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark, which conditionally allows it to avoid a potential health care fraud […]

Union Pacific Told to Pay $615,000 for Retaliation Against 3 Workers

Union Pacific Railroad faces penalties of more than $615,000 based on a finding by federal authorities that the company fired two workers, and suspended another, in retaliation for reporting workplace safety concerns and a work-related injury. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration called for Omaha-based Union Pacific to pay $400,000 in punitive damages, $90,315 in […]

Regulators Probe Whether Utility Ignored Warnings of Potential Gas Leaks

California regulators have begun looking into allegations that Pacific Gas & Electric ignored warnings from the company’s former manager of investigations about  “potentially explosive gas leaks.” The preliminary state probe is yet another examination of the company’s safety practices in the years before the explosion last September of a PG&E gas pipeline that killed eight […]

OSHA Unveils Plans to Boost Protection of Whistleblowers

Facing sharp criticism of its whistleblower protection program, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced measures to improve training and avoid long delays in completing investigations. The program has been ripped by the Labor Department’s inspector general and by the Government Accountability Office which, in a report released last year, cited training lapses […]