A whistleblower is generally someone who reports wrongdoing by an employer. But formal protection for your actions requires meeting the whistleblower definitions under a specific law.
To receive the protections as a whistleblower, you need to know which law applies to your situation.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are several statutes under which you may seek whistleblower protection. The key to ensuring you have this legal status is to follow all the rules and requirements under the applicable statute.
One of the main points will be ensuring you file and complete the filing within the time limit. For example, if you want to report an asbestos hazard in a school, you have 90 days to file and must complete your report within 90 days. However, if you want to report an unsafe cargo container on a ship, you have 60 days to file and must complete it within 30 days.
It is also important to understand the coverage of the whistleblower law that applies to your situation. For example, reporting asbestos at a school would only offer you protection if you are working for a private or government school and, in certain cases, if you work for the Department of Defense or tribal schools. If you report a shipping container, you need to work for the private sector, local government or for covered state government and agencies.
Understanding the coverage limits of the whistleblower law that is applicable to your specific situation is essential when you need the protections offered by this type of legislation.