Adverse actions don't include stray negative comments in an otherwise positive or neutral performance appraisal; being "snubbed," or negative statements or references that are based on the worker's poor work history.
And, with one limited exception, you generally don't get any "reward" for starting a whistle blower action. That is, you're protected from being retaliated against by your employer, but you won't get rewarded for reporting the illegal activity. If you file a qui tam lawsuit on behalf of the US under the federal False Claims Act, you are entitled to keep a portion of any damages your employer has to pay to the government.
For example, say an employer announces that it will be making layoffs in the near future because of a poor economy. A few days later, a worker is hurt in a work-related accident and files a worker's compensation. She'[s later laid off, along with several co-workers in her department. Unless she can prove that the employer laid her off because she requested workers' compensation benefits, the protected conduct of filing the claim won't save her from being laid off.