New Law Protects Whistleblowers Who Report Defective and Hazardous Consumer Goods

The whistleblower provision of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which was signed into law by President Bush in August, provides over 20 million employees with protection against retaliation from their employers when reporting defective and hazardous consumer goods.

What does it mean?

Whistleblower laws generally only applied to fraudulent activity against the government. However, the new law provides the same protections for employees that are involved in the manufacture, distribution and sale of consumer goods. According to Stephen Kohn, the President of the National Whistleblower Center:

This law is a major victory. Today, despite attacks from big business, the interests of American families have prevailed. Finally, employees in the manufacturing industry have the vital whistleblower protections necessary to report hazardous products. Now, American regulatory agencies must follow the government's lead and enforce these critical protections.

Why was change necessary?

The Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) was created in 1972 to protect citizens against defective and hazardous consumer goods. While good in theory, the CPSC is an agency that has desperately needed an overhaul in the past few years in order to do its job. The agency has been criticized for not doing more about the lead paint toy scandal, harmful all terrain vehicles (ATVs) and other products that have caused consumer injuries.

As part of the change, the Act extends whistleblower protections to those who work in a consumer product industry that might discover a hazardous or defective product that is being placed into the U.S. market. Those employees are now protected from employer retaliation and may be entitled to job reinstatement with the same status and privileges, recovery of back wages, compensation for extra damages and reimbursement of attorney fees and other legal costs. Additional information can be accessed on the CPSC’s website at http://cpsc.gov/cpsia.pdf.

If you’ve experienced fraudulent activity connected with defective or hazardous consumer goods, contact an experienced whistleblower attorney to discuss your situation. Consultations are strictly confidential and are free of charge and without any obligation. To contact an attorney, please click here.