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Does the Freedom of Information Act protect whistle blowers regarding Federal Safety concerns?

San Diego, CA |

Does a person who is reported to the overseeing appropriate Federal agency for Safety violations have the ability to find who turned them in via the FOIA? No citations or fines were levied.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. I understand the concern and don't blame you for worrying. Most whistleblower statutes contain this kind of protection because the legislature wants to facilitate this kind of report. Whether FOIA will protect you will depend on the statute involved and the nature of the report. You can contact the agency involved and try to find out, though you are likely to get lost in a muddle of regulation and "Not my department" responses. You can read the FOIA and see if one of the exceptions appears to apply to you. Or you might contact an attorney to research this for you. For this type of assistance, you can expect to pay hourly. Attorneys in California charge anywhere from $250 to $750 an hour depending on many factors including experience, area of law, geographic location, work load, interest in the case, difficulty of the case and more. You should expect to need at least three hours for this kind of consultation.
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  2. Possibly yes. The government does have an interest in keeping the identities of informants secret, but now that your case is resolved, you should be able to get the info. You may have a long fight against you.