Whistleblowing is an important act of exposing wrongdoing or illegal activities within an organization, but it can lead to retaliation from your employer or colleagues.
To support your claim of whistleblower retaliation, you need to gather strong evidence and follow a well-structured plan.
Document all incidents
In 2022, whistleblowers reported 2,071 OSHA, 147 railroad safety, 245 surface transportation and 104 Sarbanes-Oxley violations according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Like these whistleblowers, you should document any violations you see. Also, record retaliatory incidents. Keep emails, memos, text messages and any other documentation that can serve as evidence. Also, collect circumstantial evidence, such as suspicious timing, inconsistencies in your treatment or a shift in your job performance evaluations.
Know your whistleblower rights
Learn your organization’s whistleblower policies and anti-retaliation provisions. Follow proper whistleblower and retaliation reporting procedures. Show that you adhered to the organization’s rules.
Gather witness and medical statements
If anyone witnessed your retaliation or harassment, ask them to provide written statements or testify on your behalf. Their accounts can corroborate your claims and make your case more compelling. If the retaliation has affected your physical or mental health, obtain medical records that link your health issues to the stress or anxiety it caused.
Compare your treatment
Compare your treatment before and after your whistleblowing. If you had a clean record and were a high-performing employee but faced adverse actions after blowing the whistle, it may suggest retaliation.
Report to appropriate authorities
You may need to report the retaliation to external agencies or authorities responsible for enforcing whistleblower protection laws. Provide them with the necessary evidence to support your case.
For the best results, protect your anonymity, continue to excel at your job, maintain a professional demeanor and avoid any actions that could provoke further retaliation.