How Whistleblowers can Protect Themselves
The reputations of whistleblowers are different from one another. There are whistleblowers who come out to expose wrongdoing, fraud, and corruption either in their own workplace or in positions of government, and are considered as heroes by many. There are also those who leak out information, but the result is that they get a bad name for themselves that no one wants to take them in for employment. Perhaps you are a whistleblower, or perhaps you are thinking of blowing the whistle on someone or something. Whistleblowers need protection, and there are some ways that you can do so which are given below.
Whistleblower laws are in place to protect people who report, oppose or refuse to participate in activities which are against the laws, rules and regulations. These laws protect people who refuse to work overtime without pay, or refuse to violate environmental laws either because they care for the environment or they care for their personal safety. Other people protected by whistleblower laws are those people who report violations to government agencies, to upper management or to unions.
However, whistleblower laws are not applicable for all types of complaints. The complaints that you will present should be a clear violation of laws or rules. You cannot use the whistleblower law protection if you refuse to do something because you just don’t want to do it. If the complaint is sexual harassment, then this is covered by whistleblower laws, but discrimination against a class of employees is not covered by these laws.
If a whistleblower is seeking protection from retaliation, his case can be hurt if the wrongdoing was reported to the wrong person. The appropriate legal authority should be approached for the complaint. And if you wait for a long time before you come out and blow the whistle, your ability to sue can be affected by the statute of limitations, if it is already reached.
Whistleblowers should check first whether there is a valid lawsuit on your hands on the issues you are about to expose. There is a site on the internet which deals with whistleblowers and other relevant matters.
Make sure that you document everything that you have done from the beginning. It is important to document what you have seen, the exact time and location, and the specific people who were there. You need to support your claims with copies of timecards, emails, and records. Continue to document matters while you are attempting to report the issues. You should respect the chain of command when reporting before going beyond someone’s head. The proper chain of command in a company is to report you employer who is violating labor laws to his immediate superior.
If the matter reaches court, you already have valuable evidence in your documentation.
Understanding what is and what whistle blowing is not is something that is very important.