3 ways for workplace whistleblowers to protect their interests

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2023 | Whistleblower Cases

Whistleblowers play a key role in the realms of worker protection and organizational accountability. If people working for companies that violate the law or safety standards do not feel comfortable speaking up about what they have witnessed, companies are able to violate worker rights and laws with relative impunity.

Therefore, both federal and California state laws have rules that protect whistleblowers from employer retaliation. Workers who report issues within a company and/or to outside regulatory agencies should not have to worry about punitive measures taken by their employer just for speaking up and doing what is right. However, if companies always followed the law, whistleblower protections wouldn’t need to exist in the first place. Therefore, those who have recognized an issue with how their employer operates may want to take some or all of the three steps below to more effectively protect their interests.

Develop independent documentation

The more records that someone has detailing what they have witnessed in the workplace, the harder it will be for an employer to take punitive action against a whistleblower. When they can conclusively show that the company has turned a blind eye to harassment reports or requires that workers bypass crucial safety rules for the sake of expediency. A worker’s records should also include details about the worker’s attempts to communicate their concerns internally or report the matter to outside regulatory agencies.

Learn how to spot retaliation

Sometimes, retaliation is immediate and obvious. A worker loses their job mere days after filing internal paperwork or communicating with regulatory agencies. Workers in such scenarios may have a relatively simple claim because they can connect the company’s actions with their own easily. Other times, companies may wait many months to retaliate against workers who assert themselves. Perhaps an annual performance review months later is the first sign of retaliation. Workers may also find themselves getting written up occasionally for seemingly minor infractions or issues that did not previously result in disciplinary efforts. The goal in both of those cases would likely be to push someone out of their position while making it seem like the company’s decision was justified.

Recognize the potential need for help

From involving regulatory agencies to consulting with those familiar with whistleblower laws and other forms of employee protection, it may be necessary for workers worried about reporting company misconduct and hoping to protect their jobs to cooperate with outside parties to improve their chances of a positive outcome.

Workers who are familiar with their rights and the law and who have accurate advice about how to protect themselves can potentially take action to hold an employer accountable without endangering their own professional development. Taking the right steps to protect oneself when acting as a whistleblower can help someone do the right thing without paying a personal price for their courage.