You may hear the term whistleblower thrown around often. But do you know what it means?
The National Whistleblow Center defines it as a worker who reports misdeeds of an employer. By turning in your employer for actions that are dangerous or illegal, you are helping to protect yourself, other workers and the public, which is why you have certain legal protections.
Before whistleblower laws, employees were too afraid to report employers for anything because the chances were very good they would lose their jobs or face some other negative consequence. With protections in place, your employer cannot retaliate against you in any way for turning them in. You can report them if they threaten you or take other actions to punish you and they will face further punishments.
Coming forward as a whistleblower is a good deed. It could save lives, depending on the situation. If you do not report your employer, nobody else may either, and this could allow illegal and dangerous activities to continue. Whistleblower laws allow you to stand up for yourself and others without worrying that your employer will do anything bad in return.
While you certainly can try other channels of resolving issues, the option to go to authorities is always there. In some situations, it may be the only choice you have if you want to ensure whatever your employer is doing stops. As soon as you make a report to an authority, you gain the whistleblower protections. So, do not let fear hold you back. The law is on your side.