Blowing the whistle when you discover wrongdoing within your business or organization could create a great deal of turbulence in both your personal and professional life. Therefore, it’s important to consider all the possible consequences and outcomes before you decide to act.
The following are a few questions you should ask yourself before serving as a whistleblower:
• Are you prepared to lose your job? Your company might not take your blowing the whistle very well, especially if the misconduct is serious and could result in significant penalties. There is a chance you will lose your job or be subject to other forms of retaliation. Keep in mind that there are federal protections in place for whistleblowers. However, you could be forced to go through some major career turbulence before those protections kick in.
• Do you have evidence? If you are fired after reporting the wrongdoing, it’s important to keep a paper trail so you can prove you were terminated specifically because of your whistleblowing — rather than for a performance-related issue. Save any documents or emails that show employer responses to your actions, and keep track of all positive performance reviews.
• Are you prepared for publicity? In higher-profile whistleblower cases, there’s a decent chance the whistleblower will become the subject of publicity and attention. In this situation, expect reporters to come asking for comments and for potential new employers to ask about your whistleblowing activity when interviewing you.
• Have you reported the issue internally? Before you report any wrongdoing to the government, it’s important to follow the internal reporting structure, especially if you are an in-house lawyer who investigates these types of compliance issues. For these attorneys, reporting outside the company first could constitute a violation of legal privilege.
To learn more about the factors you should consider before blowing the whistle on your company, consult an experienced Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.