Misconduct in the workplace is an all too prevalent problem. Perhaps you have been experiencing inappropriate comments from your coworkers. These events may go unaddressed if someone doesn’t say something.
What is a whistleblower?
A whistleblower is someone who reports illegal misconduct in the workplace. For example, if you noticed that individuals are reporting inaccurate numbers and are possibly committing fraud or if you are the victim of harassment, you may speak up and report the misconduct to your supervisors. If your supervisors are responding inappropriately or are involved in the misconduct, you may need to report the situation to law enforcement.
Whistleblowers may report on misconduct in many different forms, including:
- Violation of the law
- Gross waste of funds
- Harassment or abuse
- Breach of confidentiality
Will I get in trouble for whistleblowing?
While there is a stigma around whistleblowing, it is sometimes a necessary way to protect yourself and your company.
According to the Whistleblower Protection Act, it is unlawful for employers to retaliate against a whistleblower. This means that you cannot be demoted, fired or otherwise punished because you reported misconduct. If you do experience retaliation, you can seek damages from your employer through a civil action suit.
Standing up to report misconduct can be intimidating. Yet, it’s an important way that we protect ourselves and our organizations. If you are a whistleblower, pay careful attention to potential retaliation and contact an attorney if you feel that you are mistreated because of your actions.