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What’s the Difference Between a Whistleblower and an Informant?

difference between a whistleblower and informant

Protecting your rights as an employee in California requires you to know the difference between a whistleblower and an informant. A whistleblower is a legal term for an employee who reports his or her employer’s violation of the law to authorities. An informant is a more generic term, which could also include individuals who report a wrongdoer to settle a personal score. 

According to many legal observers, the difference between a whistleblower and an informant depends on which side of the table you are representing. For instance, if an employee reports bank fraud to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), then that employee is a whistleblower. However, the wrongdoer would find the person doing the reporting as an informant, also colloquially known as a “snitch.” California whistleblower laws do not take personal motivation for reporting a wrongdoer into consideration. Let’s delve further into this topic to gain more understanding concerning the differences between a whistleblower and an informant.

Intent or Motive Is Irrelevant

The intent of the whistleblower is irrelevant in cases where employees report wrongdoing of a superior within their organization, and it will not affect the rights of the whistleblower in any way. Frequently, individuals who violate the law are authority figures or highly trusted members of organizations. Whistleblowers take financial and physical risks to report a powerful individual.

A whistleblower will typically aim to fulfill a duty or oath. They may want to save coworkers or society from harm. Conversely, an informant may submit a report to receive a reward or exact revenge after a vendetta. However, in the eyes of the law, both the whistleblower and the informant are the same in this situation. Both people have equal whistleblower protection rights according to the law.

Whistleblower Laws in California

Under the California Whistleblower Protection Act, all state employees have the freedom to report violations of law, abuse of authority, fraud, waste, and threats to public safety or health. The law does not recognize the intent or motivation and ensures that the whistleblower or the informant remains protected against potential retaliation or retribution. The essence of whistleblower laws is that public servants can best serve their fellow citizens when they can be completely forthright and candid while carrying out their duty.

California Labor Code prohibits employers from acting in retaliation against a worker who reports conduct, activities, or behaviors that may violate the law. Additionally, employers may not retaliate against a worker who refuses to participate in any such action. If an employee claims an employer did act in retaliation, then the Labor Code allows the victim to rely on direct or circumstantial evidence, such as text messages, e-mails, or other forms of communication from a supervisor, to demonstrate the employer’s opposition to them reporting illegal activities occurring at an organization.

Speak to a Top-Rated Beverly Hills Whistleblower Attorney Today!

Are you planning on reporting an employer for violating a law? Are you worried they may retaliate against you after whistleblowing? You need to retain the services of an experienced and professional whistleblower attorney to represent your interests. Attorney Jeffrey Fleitman and his legal team are knowledgeable in whistleblower laws, and they can help you navigate this delicate situation to ensure an employer cannot retaliate against you or infringe upon your rights. The Law Offices of Jeffrey Fleitman fights tooth and nail to achieve the best possible outcome for their clients, and we will do the same for you. Call us today at 310-907-5522 or fill out our online contact form for a free initial consultation.

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