Whistleblower

DEFINITION of 'Whistleblower'

Anyone who has and reports insider knowledge of illegal activities occurring in an organization. Whistleblowers can be employees, suppliers, contractors, clients or any individual who somehow becomes aware of illegal activities taking place in a business either through witnessing the behavior or being told about it. Whistleblowers are protected from retaliation under various programs created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

BREAKING DOWN 'Whistleblower'

Different organizations are interested in different sets of illegal activities reported by whistleblowers. While OSHA is more interested in the environmental and safety breaches, the SEC is interested in securities law violations. Organizations such as these offer awards for some information provided by whistleblowers and often allow for online submissions of information as well as anonymity.

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