When you work for a publicly traded company in Michigan or another part of the United States, you may decide to blow the whistle on your employer if you find it engaging in fraud, corruption or something otherwise dangerous or unlawful. A 2002 mandate required all publicly traded companies to create internal methods and procedures, or “hotlines,” for handling whistleblower complaints. However, you may want to think twice before using such a hotline to make a whistleblower complaint.
Per the National Whistleblowers Center, it may serve you well to explore other options before either filing a whistleblower complaint using a company hotline or making a similar report to your company’s corporate compliance department.
Why such complaints involve risk
While you have certain privacies and protections available to you when you make whistleblower complaints using the proper channels. However, you do not always have these same protections when you file your complaint internally. Your company’s whistleblower hotline may claim to be anonymous, but there still may be ways for company executives or colleagues to identify you.
Why such complaints may expose you to retaliation
There are laws in place protecting you from retaliation when you file your complaint in the right place. However, these laws do not always apply when you use an internal channel to make your whistleblower complaint.
When thinking about blowing the whistle on your employer, keep in mind that the hotlines are there to help protect your employer, rather than you. Be wary, too, of making your reports to corporate compliance departments, as those staffing these departments are also working for your employer, rather than you.