Georgia Whistleblower Laws

State laws of Georgia as they apply to whistleblowers

A Summary of Georgia Whistleblower Laws

The state of Georgia is among the few states which strictly follow the employment-at-will doctrine. Also, Georgia does not have a public policy. This means employees in Georgia can be discharged for any reason, even if the reason violates public policy. However, the state has several statutory protections that have been enacted by the legislature. These protections cover specific subject areas such as discrimination, and employers are not allowed to in any way retaliate against an employee for reasons that violate any of the state’s statutes.

This is a summary of Georgia Whistleblower Laws, make sure to check out the Federal Whistleblower Laws as well.

Whistleblower Rights in Georgia

Statutory Protections

State Employees

It is illegal for an employer to discharge or take any adverse action against an employee in retaliation for:

  • Reporting a violation of a rule, law, or regulation to the relevant authority.
  • Opposing or refusing to participate in an activity that violates a law, rule, or regulation.

Also, employers are not allowed to adopt any policy that prevents employees from disclosing violations of a rule, law, or regulation. Ga. Code Ann. § 45-1-4.

Sex Discrimination in Employment

It is against the law for an employer to discharge or in any way discriminate against an employee in retaliation for filing a complaint related to this statute to the relevant authority or for instituting a proceeding related to this statute or for testifying or intending to testify in a proceeding related to this statute. Under this statute, employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees based on sex by paying certain wages to employees of a certain gender even though both sexes are doing comparable work. Ga. Code Ann. § 34-5-3(c).

Equal Employment for Persons with Disabilities

It is against the law for an employer to refuse to hire, discharge or in any way discriminate against an individual in retaliation for opposing unlawful practices under the Equal Employment for Persons with Disabilities Code or filing a charge, testifying or participating in an investigation or proceeding under Equal Employment for Persons with Disabilities Code. Under this statute, employers are not allowed to alter terms of employment or in any way discriminate against an individual because of the individual’s disability unless the individual’s disability restricts him or her from engaging in a particular occupation. Ga. Code Ann. § 34-6A-5.

Age Discrimination

No person or firm is allowed to refuse to hire, discharge or in any way discriminate against a person aged between 40 and 70 years, solely based on the person’s age when the demands of the job do not require such an age distinction. Ga. Code Ann. § 34-1-2.

Fair Employment Practices Act

No employer is allowed to refuse to hire, alter terms of employment, discharge, or in any way discriminate against an individual because of the individual’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or age. Ga. Code Ann. § 5-19-29.

Whistleblower Hotlines in Georgia

To file a complaint under the Fair Employment Practices Act, call the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity (GCEO) at (404) 656-1736.

To file a complaint under Sex Discrimination in Employment due to payment discrepancies, contact the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) here.

Whistleblower Retaliation Claims in Georgia

State Employees

Employees who suffer retaliation for reasons that violate this statute are required to file a lawsuit within 1 year of discovering the retaliation or within 3 years of the retaliatory action, whichever is earlier.

Equal Employment for Persons with Disabilities

Employees who suffer discrimination because of their disability are required to file a lawsuit within 180 days of the retaliatory action.

Sex Discrimination in Employment

Retaliatory actions related to this statute should be filed within 1 year of the retaliation.

Fair Employment Practices Act

Complaints under this act should be filed within 180 days of the retaliatory action.

Violation and Retaliation Penalties in Georgia

Unless stated otherwise by a statute, the court may award any of the following types of relief to an employee:

  • An injunction.
  • Reinstatement to the previous job position.
  • Reinstatement of full fringe benefits and seniority rights.
  • Lost wages
  • Litigation costs
  • Plus any other compensation that the court deems appropriate.

Age Discrimination

In addition to the types of relief mentioned above,employers who violate this statute may be liable to pay a fine ranging from $100 to $250.

Sex Discrimination in Employment

In addition to the types of relief mentioned above, employers who violate this statute may be liable to pay a fine not more than $100.

Click for an overview of Federal Whistleblower Laws .

More Georgia Laws

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