Whistleblower statutes protect employees who report their employers for violating civil regulations or criminal laws. Of course, that’s a risky proposition for employees, who naturally fear that reporting alleged wrongdoing to the authorities could cost them their jobs.
To protect the public from unlawful conduct, whistleblower laws make it illegal to retaliate against employees who complain to public agencies about employer actions that endanger the public or break the law.
Most whistleblower statutes define protected activity to include the following: (1) reporting to a public body a violation of a law, regulation or rule and (2) being asked by a public body to participate in an investigation.
Violations of whistleblower laws can occur only if the employer takes some disciplinary or other employment action after it learns an employee has blown the whistle.
To constitute whistleblowing, employees must do more than just say they are going to complain about the employer’s actions. They must actually do so. Whistleblowers don’t have to demonstrate an actual violation of the law as long as they have a reasonable, good-faith belief that a violation of the law has occurred or might.