What Is a Whistleblower?

It’s a word that almost everyone has heard and it can appear in a number of contexts, but what exactly is a whistleblower when it comes to employment law?

Many people know a whistleblower is someone who reports something illegal or unethical at work, whether they work for the government or a private employer. That’s not an inaccurate portrayal of what a whistleblower is, but it’s an incomplete and imprecise depiction.

Whistleblowers are people who report the following and more:

  • Waste
  • Fraud
  • Abuse
  • Corruption
  • Dangerous working conditions
  • Hazards to public health

Whistleblowers don’t have to be employees of the organizations or companies they’re reporting against, but in many cases they are. That’s why federal and state laws afford protections for whistleblowers that prevent them from being fired or facing other acts of retaliation for speaking up.

Why Do Whistleblowers Need Protection?

As previously mentioned, there are many laws in place to protect whistleblowers from retaliation. But why? The answer that reporting illegal activities shouldn’t be punishable offenses seems obvious enough, but it goes a bit beyond that.

Without whistleblower protection laws, who would report illegal or unethical activity? Legal protection from retaliation is itself an incentive for employees to speak up about matters that could pose significant risks to others or have other far-reaching consequences.

A final consideration is that whistleblower protection laws can also prevent companies and government agencies from engaging in unlawful or unethical activities in the first place. When there’s the threat of a whistleblower eventually shedding light on these activities with impunity, those in charge may be disinclined to act unlawfully or unethically in the first place.

Are You a Whistleblower Who Needs Help?

Regardless of laws in place to protect whistleblowers against retaliation, it’s an all-too-often scenario for people who want to holder the employers accountable for unlawful or unethical activity at work. At Hoosier Law Firm, PLLC, we work to help employees like you seek fair and just compensation when your whistleblower rights are violated by your boss.

Reach out to us online or call (800) 455-8721 to arrange a consultation with one of our attorneys who can help you understand how you may be able get what you deserve.