The average worker may recognize fraudulent behavior or wrongdoing at work, but they often do not know the best way to respond. Below are some critical steps that the potential whistleblower must take before filing a report or making a claim.
Gathering the necessary evidence
Evidence is the foundation of every strong claim. It will likely include the extent and impact of the wrongdoing. It may include information about the actions of the people involved, business decisions that do not serve the interests company or customers, ethics violations, or outright fraudulent behavior. Examples of evidence that can provide critical support include:
- Financial documents
- Emails or other communications
- Recordings of conversations or notes of conversations (with details)
Understanding the legal protections
Some laws protect and reward whistleblowers who provide the evidence necessary for convictions, penalties and other punishments. Even those guilty of taking part in the wrongdoing can still qualify for protection when they report illegal or unethical actions and help government agencies. There are also whistleblower protections that protect current employees from retaliation, including dismissal, harassment, demotion. To avoid the spotlight, whistleblowers are often able to remain anonymous. They are also entitled to a portion of the recovered funds and penalties levied on the wrongdoers.
As is usually the case when dealing with federal agencies and law enforcement, the rules and regulations for whistleblowing can be pretty complicated with large sums of money at stake. Considering these challenges, many find it helpful to work with a knowledgeable attorney with experience protecting the rights of whistleblowers.