Many people don’t understand whistleblower protections. There are a lot of myths floating around about whistleblowing that affect who speaks up and also who gets the protection offered by federal whistleblower laws.
One coming misconception about whistleblower protections is that they only apply to those who make outside reports regarding company misconduct. That is certainly one situation where a worker becomes a whistleblower. Someone is also a whistleblower if they bring internal attention to illegal activity within the company. In fact, whistleblowing law also protects those who won’t break the law at work.
Your boss can’t force you to commit a crime
If the company has a particular practice that you know violates state or federal law, you can say no when asked to participate. After all, you could face criminal consequences even if you commit a crime under the direction of your employer.
You do not have to engage in any behavior that you know violates the law. If you assert yourself to your supervisor or someone in human resources and explain why you will not perform that task, the company should respect your statements rather than punish you for it.
In fact, once they become aware of the illegal behavior in many departments, they should likely look into the situation and make some changes. If they at first react appropriately but then take steps to penalize you, you may need to assert your rights in court to hold them accountable for their illegal whistleblower retaliation.
Knowing when federal whistleblower protections apply to you can help you stand up for what is right at your work.