How Whistleblowers can Protect Themselves
Whistleblowers come in different sorts. 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. Here are some ways that whistle blowers can protect themselves.
There are whistleblower laws that protect people who report, oppose, or refuse to engage in illegal activities – the violation of laws, rules, or regulations. Whistleblower laws also protect people who don’t work overtime without pay, or who don’t want to violate environmental laws since they either care for the environment or merely for their own 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. If you are refusing to do something simply for personal reasons then this cannot be protected by the whistleblower laws. Whistleblower laws cover sexual harassment complaints, but they do not cover discrimination against a class of job applicants or employees.
Reporting your complaint to the wrong person can only hurt your case when seeking protection from retaliation. Be sure to report it to the appropriate legal authority. 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. You can learn about whistle blowing on certain sites online.
It is important to make documentation of what you have done from the start. 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. As you attempt to report issues, continue to document matters. Try to report them within the chain of command before going over someone’s head. Reporting an employer to his manager first, if he is violating labor laws is the proper chain of command.
You documentation is an important evidence, if you have to go to court with the matter.
Understanding what is and what whistle blowing is not is something that is very important.