Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. Something like blowing the whistle at work over unethical behavior like discrimination that you are a witness to is something that can have lasting effects. In this case, doing the right thing can put your job and even future work prospects in jeopardy.
If you are thinking of becoming a whistleblower at work, then you will need to know a few things beforehand so you are protected and can also decide the right path to take. This way you can be prepared for what to expect. We will go over some of the most important things to know below. Here are some of the things to keep in mind before you become a whistleblower.
1. Know Your Rights
There are a lot of different laws regarding whistleblowers, their status, and their rights, and every state has its own interpretations of them. This means that you shouldn’t automatically assume that you are going to be protected once you come out as a whistleblower.
There are a lot of variables that determine how much protection you will have and what you are able to disclose. It also depends on what you disclose, to whom, and how you do so.
Before you do anything, get to know the laws in your area. Better yet, call some whistleblower lawyers and ask them about your situation. They understand the laws and can advise you on the best way forward according to your situation. If you don’t understand the law, not only are you in danger of losing your case and getting fired but you may also risk getting convicted of a crime.
2. You Can Stay Anonymous
Depending on the case, you are usually able to keep your identity hidden and confidential. When you are able, only the government will know your identity and nobody else will be able to see who you are.
Once the allegations are investigated, the government will decide if it is going to intervene on the claim. At this point, the lawsuit is unsealed and then your identity will become public.
The best way forward is to submit a claim with a lawyer so your identity is hidden and can remain that way until the case goes forward.
3. Trust Nobody
The only people that should know about your whistleblower case should be your lawyer and your immediate family. The problem with telling others, even people that you trust, is that important information can fall into the wrong hands. Even if it happens by accident, a leak could jeopardize your case and even make life uncomfortable for you if you lose your anonymity.
4. Be Patient
It can take years for a whistleblower case to make its way through the system. It needs to be investigated and then go to the courts. There will be long pauses that seem like nothing is happening and can be quite frustrating. The reality is that there are likely things going on behind the scenes so the case is going forward.