Whistleblower Protection Definition
A whistleblower is an employee who "blows the whistle" or tells on an employer, because the employer did something that was alledgedly illegal, unsafe or unhealthy. A common spelling variation is whistle blower.
Whistleblower protection (A.K.A. whistle blower protection) means that employers can't legally retaliate against whistleblowers.
For example, employers can't legally discharge employees in retaliation for exercising their rights under laws that have whistleblower protection provisions.
Under laws with broad whistleblower protection provisions, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, employers also may not demote, suspend, threaten, harass or otherwise discriminate against employees who blow the whistle.
Generally, whistleblower protection rights are designed to encourage employees to halt, report or testify about employer acts that are illegal, unsafe or unhealthy according to laws or public-policy, without fear of employer retaliation.
To be protected from retaliation, a whistleblower needs only to reasonably believe that the employer did something that was illegal, unsafe or unhealthy according to laws. The whistleblower doesn't have to know for sure.
If employers retaliate anyway despite that it's illegal, whistleblower protection provisions provide avenues of relief for victims. Examples of relief include job reinstatement, recovery of back pay, benefits and legal expenses, and compensatory damages.
Many state and Federal laws have whistleblower protection provisions. Collectively, they are called whistleblower acts or whistleblower laws.
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