Michigan employment law protects many different types of workers. One of the groups of workers the law protects is people who are both commonly and in legal parlance called whistleblowers. Generally speaking, a whistleblower is one who blows the whistle on his or her employer by reporting the employer’s illegal conduct.
Although the laws protecting whistleblowers in Michigan are broad, they do have certain limits. Perhaps most importantly, one should not assume the whistleblower protections give an employee a license to complaint to anyone about anything an employer does. More specifically, to be protected, a whistleblower must report to a public body, which would include administrative and law enforcement agencies; reports to the news media do not count, and an employee would have no protection if he or she chooses to talk to the press.
It is also important for employees to realize that they must report a violation of the law or a regulation, although these laws and regulations can be at the state or even local level and need not involve federal law. Reporting something that one finds unsavory, unfair or even immoral does not give an employee protection.
Finally, an employee cannot report a law violation if he or she knows the report is not true. Of course, an employee can report if he or she honestly suspects a violation, even it turns out that no violation occurred.
So long as whistleblower qualifies for protection, he or she can expect to keep his or her job and do so without any penalties or retaliation whatsoever. Were an employer to take adverse action against a whistleblower, it could lead to administrative penalties and the possibility of having to compensate the employee.