You may be asking yourself if you should “blow the whistle” on the company you work for after catching them in some wrongdoing. Your first concern may be fears of retribution and of having to find another employer.
First things first. Let’s talk about what exactly a whistleblower is and the role of a whistleblower lawyer. When a company has acted in violation of the False Claims Act, the Frank-Dodd Act, or other laws, an employee with knowledge of the violation can report them. This usually takes place through an attorney, who will evaluate the claim and any evidence before proceeding.
The government pays a percentage of any money recovered from these violations to the whistleblower, so doing so can be quite profitable. However, there are some things that a potential whistleblower should take into consideration.
Stop Talking and Get a Lawyer
When you’ve noticed potential violations, your first instinct may be to try and handle it internally. Don’t. Contact a lawyer for guidance. The lawyer will tell you whether or not you have a case and what kind of documents you’ll need to gather as evidence. Do not ever take originals, because theft can make the documents inadmissible. Also, if you try to handle the violation internally, there’s always the chance you’ll lose your job before you can gather evidence.
You May Be Offered Hush Money
Once the company gets wind that you have reported them for a violation, or have gathered evidence to do so, they may offer you a settlement to keep quiet. The initial payment may be tempting. However, you should not accept it unless you’re confident that your conscience can endure knowing the company is still probably violating regulations. Besides, the potential payoff of a successful litigation can be much, much more.
Be Prepared to Be Terminated
While whistleblowing laws do offer protections, but this does not necessarily mean that you’ll keep your job. In one review, 74% of whistleblowers lost their job. Employers can claim that poor performance and not the whistleblowing as a legitimate reason for termination.
Most Whistleblower Laws are Intended for Public Companies
The vast majority of whistleblower laws are intended to protect employees who are employed in public-sector jobs and reporting violations that affect health and safety. Proving that a private-sector employer endangered the public is difficult, but not impossible.
Find a Friend
The odds are that once you’re outed as a whistleblower, the friends you’ve made at your job are going to disappear. You’ll need a friend who can offer support and guidance through the long haul that lies ahead of you. Finding another whistleblower who knows what you’re going through and can provide advice and support will help you through the trial that lies ahead.
These are just a few of the things that any potential whistleblower should be concerned with should they decide to proceed.