UK Accounting Glossary
A whistleblower is a person who exposes any kind of information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within an organisation that is either private or public.
A Whistleblower is a person (typically an employee) who reveals evidence of wrongdoing or malpractice within a company or organisation.
Within the UK, this practice is officially termed – making a disclosure to the public interest.
A disclosure may be made to various parties; including an authorised person within the company; an authority outside the company; or in some instances the media.
Employees have legal protection (in most but not all jurisdictions) from dismissal coming about as a direct result of whistle-blowing; particularly in instances where the company’s actions endangers others, harms the environment or breaks the law.
In US employment law, a whistleblower is an employee who reports illegal activities of the employer. Various acts and statutes afford protection to the whistleblower against employer retaliation. Special whistleblower acts also protect specific groups such as federal government employees and members of the military. Collectively these are called whistleblower laws. From the investor’s perspective, a credible whistleblower may signal that there are serious management issues at a firm which could create significant liabilities. The whistleblower, however, is typically protected even if the allegation proves false, as long as the whistleblower believed the reported activity was illegal. Whistleblower claims that come to light must, therefore, be evaluated with care. The term whistleblower is sometimes written as one word, whistleblower.
The whistleblower was fired for exposing poor working conditions in hospitals across the country.
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This glossary post was last updated: 29th January 2019.