HR glossary / W / Whistleblower



A whistleblower is someone who reveals information about malpractices, abuses, or illegal actions within an organization they work for. This information is usually of public concern and might relate to threats to health, safety, or ethical matters.

The protection of whistleblowers is vital since they act in the public’s interest, revealing information that may not align with their employer’s preferences. In many countries, there are legal provisions that shield whistleblowers from discrimination, job termination, or other forms of retaliation from their employers.

Despite these regulations and policies, being a whistleblower can carry risks. Such individuals often face pressures, isolation at work, or even persecution. For this reason, organizations must cultivate a culture where employees feel at ease sharing their concerns, and their reports are taken seriously.


What distinguishes a whistleblower from a mere informer?

A whistleblower acts in the public interest, revealing information vital to society, whereas an informer might act out of personal motives.

Whistleblowers are protected under various national laws, which can shield them from retaliation such as dismissal, demotion, or harassment. For instance, in the United States, the Whistleblower Protection Act protects federal employees who report agency misconduct. Private sector protections vary by country but generally aim to protect individuals who expose illegal activities from adverse consequences.

Yes, whistleblowers can often choose to remain anonymous, depending on the laws in their country and the policies of the organization. Keeping the whistleblower’s identity confidential can protect them from retaliation, but it might also complicate the process of investigation. Some systems allow for anonymous reporting, while still providing adequate protection and follow-up on the issues raised.


Corporate integrity

Encourages ethical behavior and compliance with the law within organizations.

Public safety

Exposes health and safety violations, contributing to safer work and public environments.

Government accountability

Plays a crucial role in exposing government corruption and misuse of public funds.

Environmental protection

Helps uncover practices that are harmful to the environment, leading to corrective actions and regulatory scrutiny.

Financial transparency

Reveals financial fraud and mismanagement, protecting stakeholders and the public from financial harm.

Wypróbuj HRnest za darmo

Zarejstruj się i testuj nasz system przez 30 dni bez zobowiązań!

HR glossary / W / Whistleblower

Try out HRnest for free

Sign up and test our system for 14 days with no obligation!

Related articles

List of key terms and information related to the issue

See also