Have you witnessed colleagues’ civil rights being violated? Have you seen your employer do things that are counter to federal law? If you decide to report these behaviors to the authorities, you may be referred to as a whistleblower.
What is a whistleblower? Generally speaking, a whistleblower is a person who identifies unethical or illegal practices in the workplace. They refuse to participate in those behaviors and then contact the appropriate authorities to make sure action is taken against the employer.
Can you lose your job for blowing the whistle on your place of employment?
No, because whistleblowers are protected by federal law and may not be retaliated against.
What kinds of acts could be protected by federal whistleblower laws?
While many people think they’re only protected if they blow the whistle on activities that defraud the government, it’s also possible to be protected if your employer is participating in almost any kind of illegal activity. For example, it’s common to see people report:
- Health care fraud
- The mismanagement of government funds
- Dangers to worker safety or the safety of the public
- Violations of rules, regulations and laws
If you want to blow the whistle but are worried about your job, you first need to make sure that your report falls under the general whistleblower protections or other protections. For example, even if your report isn’t covered under whistleblower laws, you may still be protected by others that allow you to report dangerous hazards at work or civil rights infringements on the job.
The types of whistleblower laws you’ll have your state will vary
You may not know this, but every state has a different definition of what a whistleblower is and what kinds of protections they should have. As a result, if you want to make some kind of claim against your employer, it’s important that you do get to know the laws that would apply to your case and your rights if you decide to move forward. You may want to look into the method of reporting that is required, too. Following the correct legal pathway will help you protect your job while you report your employer’s negative actions.