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What is a Whistleblower?

What is a Whistleblower?

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If you have faced retaliation or any other adverse action from your employer because you reported misconduct or violations of state or federal law at your place of employment, you could be a whistleblower who has protections under both federal and Illinois state law. What is a whistleblower? Generally speaking, a whistleblower is a person who reports certain types of wrongdoing in a workplace, but federal and state laws have specific definitions that can allow an employee to qualify for whistleblower protections and to file a claim in the event of whistleblower retaliation.

Defining a Whistleblower in Illinois

According to the National Whistleblower Center, a whistleblower is, in the most basic terms, someone who sees waste, fraud, abuse, corruption, or dangers to public health and safety and then reports on that to the authorities. Yet in order to be eligible for whistleblower protections under federal or state law, it is critical to work with an Illinois employment law attorney to determine whether you could be eligible for specific legal protections under federal or state whistleblower laws.

Whistleblower Protections Under Federal Law

Various federal laws have specific protections for whistleblowers, such as the False Claims Act, laws enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), various environmental laws, and many others. These laws, as well as numerous others, provide protections to individuals who act as whistleblowers to report health and safety violations in the workplace, as well as illegal activity in the workplace. 

There is also a specific Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) that provides remedies and protections against retaliation specifically to government employees. To determine whether you are eligible for protection under a specific federal law or under the federal Whistleblower Protection Act, you should seek advice from an employment law attorney in Illinois.

Whistleblower Protections Under Illinois Law

In addition to federal laws, there is a specific Illinois Whistleblower Act. That statute says that an employer cannot have any rule in place that prevents an employee from disclosing information to the government or to the police about a known violation of a law going on in the workplace. 

Further, the Illinois Whistleblower Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for many different actions that constitute whistleblowing, including but not limited to the following:

  • Making a report to law enforcement;
  • Testifying before a court or legislative commission;
  • Refusing to participate in an illegal activity; or
  • Disclosing or attempting to disclose information about public corruption or other acts of wrongdoing in the workplace.

Contact an Illinois Whistleblower Attorney Today

If you have faced retaliation after providing information about illegal activities or other serious wrongdoing in your workplace, you could be protected as a whistleblower under federal or state law in Illinois. It is critical to get in touch with an Illinois whistleblower lawyer to learn more about whistleblower protections and to have your case evaluated. Contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline to learn more about how we assist employees with whistleblower claims in Illinois.


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