Reporting your boss for engaging in unlawful conduct at work not only requires courage but also thick skin. While some will undoubtedly tout you as a hero as soon as you blow the whistle, others may not be as friendly or supportive. You should prepare yourself for the worst, from your employer as well as from the public, should you decide to blow the whistle on your employer. Despite the risks of whistleblowing outlined below, however, remember that you are contributing to justice and ultimately contributing positively to society when you report illegal conduct. If you are unsure, nervous, or scared about how best to proceed, speak with one of the lawyers at Willoughby Brod, and they will be able to help you decide what is best for you.
The biggest risk of whistleblowing is employer retaliation. California law prohibits any form of employer retaliation toward whistleblowers, but many employers try to do it anyway. Many think that if they do it in subtle ways, like slowly pushing the employee out of their role or finding another reason to demote them or decrease their pay, that there will be no consequences to them. From an even less straightforward angle, employers and fellow employees may start to become hostile toward the employee, spreading rumors about the employee, scheduling meetings only when the employee is unavailable, or ignoring the employee in social settings. However, this type of behavior is illegal. If you have been retaliated against by your employer, contact our attorneys immediately so that we can help you fight for your rights.
While your employer is not permitted by law to retaliate against you and fire you after you blow the whistle on them, they may make your work life so miserable in some of the ways outlined above that you will want to leave on your own. If this happens, you will need to find a new job, most likely in the same industry. However, particularly in industries with high levels of internal fraud, companies may be hesitant to hire you knowing your reputation as a whistleblower. At the end of the day, however, you can say that you probably would not want to work for a company that would not hire a whistleblower anyway; after all, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.
Quite frequently, employees who witness fraud hesitate to speak up because they also engaged in the same fraudulent behavior before deciding that it was wrong. While it is possible that you may get in trouble for engaging in the same illegal conduct that you are now reporting, there is a high chance that you will receive a lesser punishment for coming forth with the information.
Contact a California Whistleblower Attorney Today
Each person’s case is unique, and the best way to determine the best course of action for you is to consult with an experienced California whistleblower attorney. The attorneys at Willoughby Brod have helped countless individuals in Santa Rosa and San Francisco weigh the pros and cons of whistleblowing and decide whether or not they want to move forward with a whistleblower suit. We can help you do the same. Just contact us online or at (800) 427-7020 to schedule your confidential consultation.
(image courtesy of Benjamin Child)