A whistleblower is someone that reports or otherwise exposes misconduct. In the employment law context, this usually means employees that have reported unlawful actions taken by their employers. Importantly, in many instances, an employee whistleblower will have legal protections prohibiting an employer from taking retaliatory action.
One of the more notable statutory protections for whistleblowers is found in the Occupational Safety and Health Act. This act created what is commonly referred to as OSHA. Under the Act, an employee that has been subjected to retaliation for reporting hazards and/or violations of workplace safety standards may be reinstated back to his job and receive damages. It is important to note that there are various regulations for the reporting time of unlawful retaliation; employees should seek advice from an attorney or file a complaint with OSHA as soon as possible if they have been subjected to this type of unlawful retaliation.
Other statutes contain anti-retaliation provisions that protect whistleblowers. These include, but are not limited to, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Arkansas Civil Rights, and the Whistleblower Protection Action (applies specifically to government employees).