The Do’s and Don’ts of Whistleblowing
What is a whistleblower? A whistleblower is someone who reports corruption or wrongdoing at his or her workplace. Deciding whether to become a whistleblower is something you should consider seriously because, although blowing the whistle is the right thing to do, there can be consequences. Sometimes these consequences are anticipated and sometimes they are collateral. You should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to make sure what you’re seeking to blow the whistle on is protected by the 1989 Whistleblower Protection Act (federal) and the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Act (New Jersey).
At John J. Zidziunas & Associates, we receive many inquiries about whistleblowing, but many are not properly documented or the “smoking gun” isn’t admissible in court. Before you take any action, it is best to speak with an attorney to make sure you don’t jeopardize your job over a claim that might not be provable in court.
What You Should Know When You’re Ready to Blow the Whistle
Once you’ve decided to proceed, there are a few things you should and should not do during a whistleblower case.
• Don’t report rumors or suppositions.
Ideally, you want documentation that showcases the dishonesty or illegality you’re seeking to expose.
• Do proceed carefully and think strategically about how you blow the whistle.
• Do speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
• Do keep in mind that retaliatory action could result if you expose or threaten to expose wrongdoing.
Retaliatory action by your employer is illegal and if you have been demoted or fired you should call us immediately.
• Don’t discuss confidential information with people.
These proceedings can be contentious and it is best to only speak with your attorney regarding your whistleblower case.
• Don’t cut corners, stretch the truth, or falsify documents.
Everything will be scrutinized and this kind of behavior could derail your claim and seriously jeopardize your case.
• Don’t ignore key resources like the National Whistleblowers Center or the American Civil Liberties Union.
These organizations support whistleblowers and they can provide you with important information as you begin your case.
• Do follow the law.
If you’re unsure about the legality of any action you’re contemplating, contact an attorney before you act.
• Don’t expect the lawsuit to be quick or easy.
These cases can take a significant amount of time and they can take a toll on your personal relationships and your finances. Don’t ignore these consequences when deciding whether or not to blow the whistle.
• Do keep in mind that whistleblowing is the right thing to do and the law rewards whistleblowers for stepping forward.
While the process isn’t easy and the wheels of justice turn slowly, eventually you will be rewarded for reporting illegality.
• Do consider that being a whistleblower is a morally important role.
By stepping forward, you can prevent further discrimination, substandard care, fraud, or any number of other offenses. New Jersey and the federal government has gone to great lengths to protect whistleblowers. These cases are often about moral and ethical issues, but whistleblowers can also receive significant financial rewards.
Before you take any action related to a whistleblower case, call our office today. Our dedicated and experienced attorneys can help you through these difficult considerations. To protect yourself, there are many angles that should be considered. Contact John J. Zidziunas & Associates at (973) 509-8500.
Please note: The content on our blog is for information purposes online, and shall not be construed as legal advice in any way.
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