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An employee of a company who has knowledge of illegal activities and reports them to the authorities. Generally speaking, a whistle blower reports the activities out of a sense of conscience or out of a desire to avoid criminal charges himself/herself. Under federal law, whistle blowers may not be fired, but some companies find ways around this.
An employee or other person who publicly exposes the wrongdoings of a private company. For example, if a company is illegally dumping chemicals in a protected environment, a whistleblower may tell the proper authorities or, failing that, the media. Certain laws may protect whistleblowers from being fired or other negative consequences within the company.
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whistle-blowersomeone who publicizes or reports to the relevant authorities what they perceive to be unlawful or unethical practices by their employer or fellow employees. Whistle-blowing has become more prominent in recent years, in part because of the trend towards commercialization of public services (e.g. in the health service). Many CONTRACTS OF EMPLOYMENT now preclude employees from publicizing any aspect of the employing organization without prior authorization, and this has made whistle-blowing a more secretive and more dramatic activity Those blowing the whistle, rather than those committing the unlawful or unethical act, are often those penalized by the employer. However, in some circumstances (e.g. health and safety violations) whistle-blowers now have legal protection.
Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson