On July 29, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh delivered a speech in strong support for whistleblowers. During a keynote speech at the National Whistleblower Day 2021 celebration, he said, “I want to be clear: every worker has the right to speak up. If they’re mistreated, denied their rights, or have concerns about safety. And when an employer retaliates, it’s not only wrong, it’s illegal.” Walsh’s remarks appeared to be a commitment to more rigorous enforcement of whistleblower protections for employees across the country.
Walsh commented on the role that whistleblowers play in the workforce, saying that they help stop misdeeds from occurring more than once. He framed blowing the whistle as an act of community service: “They’ve not only protected themselves, they’ve protected their coworkers, and they’ve protected their community. They perform a public service, to prevent wrongdoing from happening again, and we thank them.”
Walsh’s speech marks the first time that a standing Secretary of Labor has spoken at National Whistleblower Day. As the head of the Department of Labor (DOL), Walsh is in charge of the federal agency tasked with the oversight of 25 different whistleblower statutes, by far the highest number of whistleblower statutes enforced by a single agency.
Walsh continued on to speak about his history of advocating for whistleblower rights and his understanding of the necessity for workers to speak up long before he became the Secretary of Labor. Before becoming Secretary of Labor, he served as a State Representative in Massachusetts and the Mayor of Boston.
National Whistleblower Day 2021 is the largest whistleblower event ever. The celebration spans three days from July 28 to July 30, highlighting intriguing whistleblower stories, useful resources, and high-profile speakers.
To see reruns of Walsh’s speech, sign up at National Whistleblower Day 2021 for updates and a link to join the event.