Employers have a lot of power, especially within their own domains. This can lead to a sense that it is acceptable to cut corners or flaunt the law.
It is never acceptable to put profits ahead of people’s lives. If you decide to speak up against this type of activity when you observe it, you might have certain protections under federal law.
When do people become whistleblowers?
There is no hard and fast rule about when you should think about becoming a whistleblower. There is also no completely safe or anonymous method to follow that applies to every situation.
However, people generally take this measure when they have amassed evidence of wrongdoing and have made preparations for the attempt to improve their workplace. In some cases, but not all, you would probably take the step of making an official report after discussing the matter directly with your employer.
What happens if an employer finds out?
If an employer finds out about your report, they cannot legally take adverse action because of it. Such an action might be as drastic as terminating your employment — or as subtle as giving you artificially low-performance reports.
Even if you decide to leave the company, your employer could still take adverse action by attempting to prevent you from working in the field. This is not acceptable from a legal standpoint.
What do you do if your employer targets you?
Because of the various laws protecting workers, you could have protection against and remedy these adverse actions. This could involve something like starting a case against the employer. Similarly to filing a report about the unsafe or illegal conditions at your workplace, any evidence you have might be helpful.