When you know that something unscrupulous or unlawful is is happening at your place of business, you have a decision to make. Blowing the whistle on your employer might seem scary, but there are laws in place to protect you. Since employees are the most likely individuals to know if something is going on with their employer, the authorities seek to protect those who would come forward for the good of the community. If you are concerned about the business practices of your employer, following are tips for how to blow the whistle.
Don’t Discuss it With Anyone. Your first instinct might be to turn to the guy in the next cubicle for his advice, but this is the worst possible decision you could make. Even if you and that guy at the next desk are good pals, you can’t necessarily trust anyone to keep your confidence. He might go directly to the boss with your assertions or make life difficult for you at work. Furthermore, if your suspicions are unfounded, you might start the gossip mill a-churning for no reason. It’s better to keep your thoughts to yourself before blowing the whistle on your employer.
Collect Any Hard Evidence. Even if you were to blow the whistle on your employer, it won’t do any good without hard evidence. That’s not to say that you should play James Bond and go snooping in the boss’ office for evidence, but you also shouldn’t endanger your reputation or your job by going to authorities without something to substantiate your claims. Keep any letters, memos, documents, computer files, discs or recorded conversations in a safe place until you feel you’re ready to blow the whistle.
Place an Anonymous Tip. Even though the law protects whistle blowers, you might want to place an anonymous tip. If your superiors know that you are the one who brought the authorities or the media in, they can’t necessarily fire you but they can make your professional life quite difficult. Not only that, but if you are aware of unscrupulous activities, you might not want to stay employed with that company, but your employer can make it difficult for you to find a job elsewhere. Anonymous tips aren’t quite as effective, but they’ll save you from a lot of heartache.
Evaluate Your Motivations. Something else to consider about blowing the whistle on your employer is your motivation. Why have you decided to go public with the information you’ve discovered? If you’re simply trying to get back at your boss for failing to give you a promotion last quarter, you might be better off simply quitting and finding something else. If, however, you are motivated by your duty to the public and to other employees, then you’ll have to follow your conscience.
Can You Be Implicated? Blowing the whistle on your employer can have negative consequences for you as well as for the company. If the evidence you’ve collected implicates you in a crime or moral wrongdoing, you could easily go down with your employer. Make sure that you are prepared for any possible ramifications of being the company whistle-blower.
Keep a Log. As further evidence of your claims, keep a log that describes the events you have witnessed and provides further testimony to your employer’s wrongdoings. Keep the log in a safe place and don’t add to your log or evidence or investigation on company time. You don’t want to be paid to investigate your employer only to blow the whistle.
Blowing the whistle on your employer may be the best decision you’ve ever made, or it might backfire and leave you jobless. Make sure that you think through your decision before taking any definitive action.