Many people take on their jobs with the best intentions. They plan to turn their job into a rewarding career. However, sometimes employees find themselves in a dilemma when possible impropriety is going on in their workplace.
It can be stressful deciding whether to become a whistleblower. You may fear reprisal from your employer. Virtually every state and the federal government have laws in place prohibiting employers from retaliating against their whistleblowing employees.
How do existing whistleblowing statutes protect me?
Existing laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who either threaten to or actually disclose practices or policies they deem to be unlawful. These illicit activities may be by an employer or a colleague. It’s also unlawful for employers to retaliate against an employee who testifies in front of an investigative body regarding those potentially unlawful practices or actions.
These laws also forbid employers from retaliating against employees who disclose information about employer impropriety to other colleagues, customers, government agencies, investors or shareholders.
Both state and federal whistleblowing statutes state that it’s unlawful for employers to retaliate against employees who refuse to engage in unethical, fraudulent or criminal activities.
Putting your employer on notice about their impropriety
Employees need to provide written notice to their supervisors of alleged impropriety first. That’s enough to correct the issue in some instances. This step is unnecessary if it’s an emergency, the employee fears physical harm by reporting it, or the supervisors are already aware of the issue.
What to know as a whistleblower
It takes a lot of courage to come forward and report alleged impropriety. An attorney can review your case and let you know if you have reason to report your employer’s unlawful activities and how to go about doing it, if so. They can also advise you on how existing laws may protect you against retaliation if you make such a report.