Blowing the whistle on fraud and other corruption at the workplace is not a decision to step into lightly. But we need whistleblowers in society to keep corporations and government agencies in check. By carefully considering potential outcomes before blowing the whistle, you can enact positive change while protecting your own future to the greatest possible extent.
Make sure there is a reportable offense
There are many workplace misdeeds and injustices that do not rise to the level of reportable offenses. Before taking action, make sure you are reporting theft, discrimination, a criminal offense, a regulatory breach, a coverup or some other unlawful act that a court of law can act upon.
If your place of work is engaging in fraudulent billing practices against the government, for instance, this is a reportable offense that should be revealed and that may even help you secure a substantial monetary reward. If you are unhappy with how your company is run but there is no illegal act to uncover, there may be no avenue for you as a whistleblower. If you are uncertain, talk with an attorney who has experience representing whistleblowers in these types of cases.
Don’t feel you need to investigate
Whistleblowers are not investigators so do not feel you have to dive into company records to get to the root of what is going on. You are simply a witness to this corruption, a witness that may someday help enact positive change in your industry. The appropriate government agency will investigate to determine if the accusations have merit.
Know that the law is on your side
Blowing the whistle is a freighting prospect, especially when your job and livelihood are at stake. Remember that laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for blowing the whistle on corruption and illegal activity. If you have been terminated, demoted or otherwise punished for exposing wrongdoing, you have important rights you should know about.