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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  1. How should a whistleblower report unlawful or unethical behavior?

    Whistleblowing takes many forms. A whistleblower could expose government corruption, expose unethical business behavior or ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What should a whistleblower do if their employer retaliates?

    Although specifically prohibited by employment law, employer retaliation against whistleblowers for exposing employers' wrongdoings ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Are UTMA accounts escheatable?

    Like most financial assets held by institutions such as banks and investment firms, UTMA accounts can be escheated by state ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can the IRS audit you after a refund?

    The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can audit tax returns even after it has issued a tax refund to a taxpayer. According ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How does escheatment impact a company?

    In recent years, state governments have become increasingly aggressive in enforcing escheatment laws. As a result, many businesses ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What happens if property is wrongfully escheated?

    If your financial accounts, such as bank, investment or savings accounts, are declared dormant and the managing financial ... Read Full Answer >>

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