As an employee, you might learn about anomalies like fraud, widespread discrimination or sexual harassment at your place of work. Even if you are not a direct victim of this kind of wrongdoing, you have a duty to let the world know about such anomalies. This is known as whistleblowing.
Whereas the law may be on your side as a would-be whistleblower, it is important to understand the extent of your protection as well as the pitfalls to steer clear of. Here are three mistakes you’ll want to avoid while blowing the whistle.
Overlooking your whistleblower protection laws
Whistleblowing is very much a legal process. For this reason, it is in your best interest that you understand both federal and California whistleblower protection laws. Keep in mind that many whistleblower laws vary from state to state. Thus, it is vital that you acquaint yourself with the legal frameworks that protect you from possible employer retaliation where you’re located.
Failing to keep proper records
It is not uncommon for whistleblowers to face threats of retaliation or other forms of punishment for their actions. And this is why maintaining a paper trail is vital. Before blowing the whistle, be sure to properly document the wrongdoing in question. Write down the specific date it happened, who perpetrated it, whether you reported it internally and the actions (if any) that were taken. Without proper documentation, you will likely have a difficult time countering the perpetrator’s version of the story.
Overlooking the right procedure
Just because you have a piece of damning information about your employer doesn’t mean that you should call for a press conference. Most likely, your employer has internal procedures for addressing issues like discrimination and other labor-related conflicts before going public. It is important that you exploit these options before blowing the whistle to a greater extent.
Asserting your rights
The decision to go public over wrongdoing at your place of work is a huge one. Learning more about your rights and obligations can help you safeguard your interests while blowing the whistle. Keep in mind that you can seek legal guidance at any time to better ensure that your efforts are as protected and effective as possible.