Frequently Asked Questions About Whistleblower Laws

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Protection for whistleblowers is important for a number of reasons, which is why there are so many strict regulations and procedures when it comes to whistleblower protection. These are put in place to protect employees from potential retaliation, as well as to help fully investigate their claims.
But what exactly is whistleblower law? What does it entail? Here are a few frequently asked questions that could answer yours.
What is a whistleblower?

A whistleblower is a person, usually an employee, who informs on a person or organization engaged in an illicit activity. For example, if a police officer witnessed multiple counts of misconduct and notified their department, they would be considered a whistleblower.
What are whistleblower and anti-retaliation laws?

Unfortunately, many unsafe or unethical practices continue because people are afraid of retaliation from their employers. However, many of these practices could be harmful to the public, and so the law has provided a remedy for victims of retaliation. These laws encourage employees to come forward with evidence that will make the world safer, healthier, and more just.
What is the difference between whistleblowing and retaliation claims?

While whistleblowing is the act of informing someone of unsafe or unethical practices, retaliation claims are a result of that action. Whistleblowing complaints focus on conduct prohibited by a specific law or that may endanger safety, but retaliation claims are a result of threats or workplace harassment from colleagues or employers if their conduct is reported.
Is some conduct not protected activity?

Yes. While protection for whistleblowers covers many things, if you get into an argument with your supervisor and punch them in the face, you’re not protected. Protected activity may be associated with impulsive behavior by some, but in truth, it simply does not cover that.
Whistleblower laws are important for a variety of reasons, namely that whistleblowers serve society by keeping companies more transparent and often help make society a safer place for all. The laws may seem complex, but they are all created and put into effect in an effort to protect the people trying to make the world a safer place for people to live in.

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