From our offices in the Detroit area, Akeel & Valentine, PLC serves clients nationwide.

From our offices in the Detroit area, Akeel & Valentine, PLC serves clients nationwide.

Stay anonymous or go public when blowing the whistle?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | Whistleblower

Blowing the whistle can often be a step that helps a Michigan workplace to change for the better. However, it can also put someone who decides to come forward at great risk of retaliation from their employer and even social persecution.

If someone is faced with the dilemma of blowing the whistle against their employer, they must also contend with whether they can stay anonymous or not.

What are the risks of not staying anonymous?

Individuals who reveal their identity when shining a light on their employer’s illegal activities could be at risk of:

  • Retaliation: Even though retaliation is against the law, an employer may take negative action against a whistleblower. They may experience termination, demotion or pay cuts. Whistleblowers can take legal action if they face retaliation, but they must also be aware of the risk, even if it is illegal.
  • Social consequences: Similarly, unsupportive coworkers may discriminate against someone who decides to blow the whistle. This could significantly increase the stress whistleblowers already face. It could even impact their friends and family.

Federal law and Michigan law can protect whistleblowers from employer retaliation and discrimination.

But can you stay anonymous?

Individuals can remain anonymous when blowing the whistle depending on the type of case they have. Under federal law, a person can make anonymous whistleblower filing for securities fraud and bribery. Meanwhile, for other types of filings, the government agencies disclosed to can protect the identity of whistleblowers.

Staying anonymous could indeed help individuals avoid the risks mentioned above. It could also help them gather more evidence to build their case while and face less pressure from the risk of retaliation and social consequences.

Understanding how you want to proceed is critical if you decide to blow the whistle on your employer. It can also help you protect your confidentiality if need be.