The term “whistleblower” often pops up during salacious news casts about corporate misdeeds and major legal investigations. However, for as much as Americans hear it, many may not actually know what the term “whistleblower” means. A brief overview of this important employment law topic may give Minnesota residents a better understanding of why it can be hard for some individuals to take on such a role.

A whistleblower is a worker who reports a violation committed by their employer. Because employers are often regulated in many of their operations, whistleblowing can happen in many different contexts. For example, a worker who learns that their employer is improperly handling hazardous materials may contact the EPA to inform that entity of the violations. A worker who learns of their employer’s discriminatory hiring practices may make a report to the EEOC about such illegal actions, for example.

When a worker becomes a whistleblower their employer may not retaliate against them, but unfortunately some still do. Because a worker may fear the loss of their job, the cutting of their hours or the removal of their duties due to taking on whistleblower status, some may choose to look the other way when they come into knowledge about their employers’ illegal actions.

Becoming a whistleblower can be a hard choice for some who worry about their job security. However, under the law, whistleblowers have access to many protections and can enforce their rights even after they take actions that may be detrimental to their employers. Individuals who are preparing to become whistleblowers may want to get more information about important employment law and discrimination questions.