If you see wrongdoing within your place of employment, you have the right to report it and not face retaliation for doing so. Still, you need to make sure you protect yourself and secure the right legal protection.
The U.S. Department of Justice explains there are two important criteria you will want to meet to ensure that you have full whistleblower protection under the law.
To make a complaint or report, you have to believe wrongdoing is occurring. Wrongdoing can vary, but generally, it will include your employer breaking the law, mismanaging finances, abusing authority or doing something to put people, either workers or the public, in danger. You need to reasonably believe something is going on that is illegal or dangerous to make a report. It is wise to have some evidence to back up your claims. This will safeguard you and help to ensure you get whistleblower protection.
You also must report to the proper agency. This depends on where you work and the type of issue. For many private industry workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the go-to agency to report issues, but any authority may work, depending on the situation. You want to make sure you report to the right place because that will get you the quickest resolution. It also will ensure that your protections kick in immediately. If you report to the wrong place, your employer could hear about it before you have protection, which could result in retaliation that you cannot protect against as easily.
Securing your whistleblower protections is important because you want to be able to protect yourself.