Knowing the steps to take when considering blowing the whistle on your employer can seem like a daunting process. Although every company should have a supportive culture that allows for whistleblowers to come forward to report wrongdoings, this may not always be the case. Unfortunately, the fear of retaliation is a real concern considering that it’s not uncommon for whistleblowers to face job loss retaliation as a result. Whistleblowers should cautiously move forward through the process when taking action. Here are some steps that may shed light on what you should do next should you bear witness to illegal acts carried out by your employer:
Step #1 Consider Coming Forward
Carefully take stock of the situation you have found yourself in to determine if coming forward is the best course of action. It’s best to approach the process with no hidden agenda on your part. You will want to determine whether you should first speak with your employer and how you will communicate the problem to them.
Step #2 Hire a Whistleblower Attorney
Retaining legal counsel from an attorney who represents whistleblowers will be key in guiding you through the process. It’s important to make sure that you hire an attorney who has experience in managing these types of cases, they will give you the best chance at effectively moving forward. If you are unsure of whether you need an attorney, at least take the time to speak with one first. They will have the ability to provide you with the support and guidance you may need when managing what may be a fueled process.
Step #3 Be Able to Support Your Claim
Evidence is a key factor when blowing the whistle. You will need to be able to back up your claim with proof. The evidence you provide will play a role in potentially exposing the illegal activity of your employer. It’s important that you are able to gather this effectively and include as much detail as possible. Viable evidence that may support your claim may include:
- Email Exchanges
Although these types of evidence are key, it’s important to tread lightly. Laws can vary regarding the recording of conversations. Additionally, removing confidential documents from the workplace may leave a whistleblower legally unprotected. It’s important to know workplace policies prior to doing so in addition to consulting with your attorney during this process.
Step #4 Disclosure Statements
With the help of your attorney, a complaint will need to be filed with the courts and the federal government. The disclosure statement will provide details to the misconduct or illegal activity that is suspected.
Step #5 Expect Blowback
Although in some cases your identity may be kept secret, there are no guarantees that your employer may not figure out that you have taken action against them. It’s important that you prepare yourself for the consequences and carefully consider what this may mean for you. In some cases, it may be advisable to begin the process of finding a new job.
Contact an Attorney
Making the decision to expose your employer for their wrongdoings can be a difficult step to take. In many cases, whistleblowers considering whether they should come forward can be wrought with anxiety and fear for what repercussions they stand to face as a result. The last thing any person wants is to see their efforts blow up in a way that leaves them unprotected and seriously impacted. Mapping out a plan of action with a lawyer, like a whistleblower retaliation claim lawyer in Washington, DC from Eric Siegel Law, can help to soften the blow and protect your rights along the way.