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What is internal and external whistleblowing?

When a person suspects a boss or another employee of violating the law in some way, they may decide to “blow the whistle.” There is a difference between internal and external whistleblowing, as discussed below.

An internal whistleblower is someone who discovers some type of illegal misconduct in a workplace and decides to communicate their discovery to a supervisor. That supervisor would then follow protocol in addressing the alleged misconduct within the company.

Alternatively, a whistleblower may choose to alert the authorities or the media of the misconduct. This would be considered external whistleblowing. There is no law that dictates how a person who believes there to be misconduct reports that illegal activity.

Any person who chooses to bring suspected misconduct to light is protected by whistleblower laws. This means that a person may not be retaliated against within the workplace for alerting anyone to illegal activities within an organization.

For example, Paul has evidence that his co-worker is committing fraud. Paul alerts his direct supervisor who then follows policies regarding alleged misconduct. Paul would be considered an internal whistleblower. If, on the other hand, Paul filed a police report, he would be considered an external whistleblower.

Any person who suspects that a person is conducting illegal activity within an organization has rights. If you believe that there is illegal activity taking place in your Atlanta company, an attorney may be able to assist you.