Whistleblowers Should Be Careful About Taking Documents

People who become aware of wrongdoing within their company and wish to act as whistleblowers will need to provide proof of wrongdoing on the part of their company. This can be easier said than done. You might need to access certain documents or company information to be able to prove your allegations.

If you are preparing to act as a whistleblower, it is crucial that you be extremely careful about taking documents. What you are actually allowed to take to support your case is a very complex element of whistleblower law, and going beyond your rights could land you in legal trouble yourself.

What you should know

Employers will often argue in court that whistleblowers who take documents or evidence from a company to support their claims are guilty of stealing corporate property or trade secrets, or otherwise violating privacy laws (particularly in the realm of healthcare). In most cases, whistleblower attorneys will successfully be able to argue that the public interest in putting an end to the organization’s fraud or wrongdoing will outweigh the property interest the employer has in documents and trade secrets.

However, there are some exceptions to this. Certain documents may be protected by attorney-client privilege, and patient medical records are subject to some extremely stringent protections as well. Taking this types of documents could result in you being charged with a crime.

The best way to proceed is to talk to an attorney as soon as you become aware of wrongdoing, and discuss with them how you can best prove your allegations. If you know evidence exists and in what form it exists, discuss this with your attorney and they can provide you with advice about how to go about collecting it.

For more information about blowing the whistle on corporate wrongdoing, contact a skilled whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group.