It takes a lot of courage to blow the whistle on the company you work for, especially if you know that doing so will mean that the government will probably investigate the company.
Even though you are correct to report your concerns, you know that it may affect some of the people at work who you like. What’s more, you may fear that some at the company will retaliate against you, perhaps shunning you or even firing you.
A recent report shows that if you are a woman, retaliation is even more likely
The report found that men speaking up when something is wrong was more readily accepted by colleagues and employers than women doing so. They interpreted women speaking up as doing it for their own interests rather than the common good.
It basically goes back to the dated concept that women should be seen and not heard. People consider women who speak up aggressive or self-serving, whereas when men do the same, it is fine because that’s how people expect men to be. Retaliation is some people’s way of ‘teaching a woman her place’ and punishing her for ‘stepping out of line” by speaking up.
While men can also face retaliation for whistleblowing, the report found that those in power were less likely to – their position of power protected them. That did not occur for women in power – they were still more likely to face retaliation than men overall.
Retaliating against a whistleblower is illegal, but that does not mean someone won’t do it if you blow the whistle. Getting legal help to understand more about available whistleblower protections before you report anything can help protect you when you try to protect the public interest by calling out inappropriate actions.