A Guide to Whistleblower Protection
The reputations of whistleblowers are different from one another. There are some who expose something that people do wrong, fraud, and corruption, and thus to the public, they become our heroes. Some whistleblowers can their names smeared up for leaking information, and they end up losing the battle. Are you a whistle blower, or are you planning of becoming a whistle blower soon? Whistleblowers need protection, and there are some ways that you can do so which are given below.
There are whistleblower laws that protect people who report, oppose, or refuse to engage in illegal activities – the violation of laws, rules, or regulations. People who refuse to work overtime without pay, or refuse to break environmental laws are also protected by whistleblower laws. Other people protected by whistleblower laws are those people who report violations to government agencies, to upper management or to unions.
There are some types of complaints that are not under the protection of whistle blower laws. Like, you need to believe that what you are reporting is really illegal and a violation of laws or rules. If you refuse to do something simply because you don’t want to do them, you cannot use these whistleblower laws to protect yourself. Sexual harassment complaints are protected by whistleblower laws while discrimination against employees is not.
If you report the wrongdoing to the wrong persons, then it can hurt your case when you are seeking protection from retaliation. The appropriate legal authority should be approached for the complaint. Taking time to come out with your complaints can be greatly affected if the statute of limitations has already been reached, and by this time you can no longer sue the offenders.
Whistleblowers should check first whether there is a valid lawsuit on your hands on the issues you are about to expose. There is a site on the internet which deals with whistleblowers and other relevant matters.
Documentation of what you have done from the start is very important. Document what you have seen, the time and the place it happened, and the specific people who were involved. Make sure that you can support your claims with copies of timecards, emails, and records. Continue to document matters while you are attempting to report the issues. Do not go beyond someone’s head, but respect the chain of command when reporting. Reporting an employer who is violating labor laws to his immediate superior is the proper chain of command to be observed, and not to anybody else.
If the matter goes to court, this documentation can serve as evidence.
It is important to understand what is and what isn’t whistleblowing.