What does it mean to be a whistleblower?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2021 | Employment Law |

Employees have the right to speak up if there are illegal activities going on in a business. There are specific laws that apply if an employee reports those illegal activities. These laws are meant to encourage reports of illegal activities while discouraging employers from retaliating against employees who speak up.

Who is covered under whistleblower laws?

While many people might think that whistleblower laws only apply to employees, there are others who are also covered by them. These laws also cover anyone who has knowledge of the illegal activities. This includes contractors, suppliers, vendors and clients.

The employer and its agents can’t take negative action against the individuals who file the report about the illegal activities. This includes harassing, threatening or anything similar. If the person who blew the whistle is an employee, the employer can’t terminate them, demote them, or take any other adverse employment action against them.

When do whistleblower protections apply?

Whistleblowers are only protected if the report they make is factual. There are no protections for fraudulent complaints. Because of this, employees should only speak up if they’re sure that there is illegal activity going on. Trying to file complaints just to cause harm to the employer when the claims aren’t true isn’t going to provide the person with protections.

Anyone who thinks they qualify for protections under whistleblower protection laws should consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that they understand their rights and responsibilities. Be sure to act quickly if you think that your situation falls under these laws because some of your options may have time limits.

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