If you suspect that your employer or another organization is committing fraud, financial mismanagement, unethical practices, or other illegal activities, you have a right to report that illegal activity as a whistleblower. This four step guide to whistleblowing will explain the exact steps you need to take to successfully report a whistleblowing case.
Hire a good lawyer, fast. The first thing you will want to do is hire an experienced whistleblower attorney as soon as you detect the organization’s illegal activities. While you may be tempted to report the illegal activity internally, many organizations will do anything they can to mask internal misconduct and will defend the company at your expense. Even though whistleblower retaliation is prohibited under federal OSHA laws and the California False Claims Act, it is not unheard of for employers to fire or mistreat their employees who have been discovered to be whistleblowers.
An experienced attorney, on the other hand, can give you advice as to exactly what you should be doing to gather evidence and build a strong case, without risking your job security. While a lawyer will be your best support in filing a whistleblower case, it is still your job to collect all the necessary evidence. A whistleblower case is not based on hunches alone but on hard, solid evidence.
Be prepared to be outed. Even though your case is filed under seal, and there are ways to maintain additional anonymity like filing your case under an LLC name, you will eventually be outed as a whistleblower. Whether a mistake occurs during the case and the seal is inadvertently lifted or it becomes obvious within a small work office that you were the whistleblower, prepare to eventually be outed.
Do not count your chickens before they hatch. Even if it becomes clear to you that your case will most likely be successful, you never know how much you will get paid until the case is over. You also do not know if there are other relators, as well. Especially if you are reporting on a larger organization, do not assume you are the only whistleblower on the case. Chances are, if the organization is so blatantly engaging in illegal conduct, there are other relators, as well.
Prepare for retaliation. Even though whistleblower retaliation is illegal under federal OSHA laws and state workplace retaliation laws, some employers may still attempt to retaliate against you once you are outed as a whistleblower. Whistleblower retaliation can take the form of reduction in pay or benefits, demotions, or even job loss. If you experience any signs of whistleblower retaliation from your employer, make sure you are as diligent about collection evidence toward that as you are about collection evidence toward your whistleblower claim. Speak with your attorney immediately and ask what steps you need to take to prepare for your retaliation claim.
Contact an Experienced Whistleblower Attorney at Brod Law Firm Today
The experienced whistleblower attorneys at Brod Law Firm have helped whistleblowers successfully file whistleblower claims and workplace retaliation claims. If you believe your organization is engaging in illegal conduct, or if you have been retaliated against by your employer as a result of your whistleblowing, contact one of our legal professionals online or at (800) 427-7020 today for your free consultation.
(image courtesy of Samson Duborg Rankin)