The Power of a Whistleblower Lawyer – How to Protect Yourself

Blowing the whistle on a company can be one of your most courageous professional decisions. It can also lead to severe consequences for you and your family.

If you decide to go public, consulting with a New York whistleblower lawyer is essential. It would help if you looked for a firm with an extensive track record and commitment to the cause.

Hire a Whistleblower Lawyer

The decision to report an employer for illegal activity takes work. Workers may be afraid of retaliation or even loss of their jobs. They also might need to be convinced that they will be able to bring the case to justice successfully.

Many laws exist to encourage whistleblowers to report information on their employers’ illegal activities. These laws often offer monetary rewards and strong legal protections. However, it is essential to understand when and what to report and to whom. For example, it is necessary not to wait too long because the statute of limitations may lapse and void any potential claims.

A dedicated lawyer can help you determine which laws you may be eligible to file a claim under. A knowledgeable New York whistleblower attorney can also provide you with the tools necessary to fight retaliation.

Our team is experienced in helping clients with qui tam False Claims Act cases, securities fraud and financial industry violations, commodities fraud, tax fraud, and other fraudulent activity. We are well-versed in the different federal and state whistleblower programs. We can help you qualify for substantial rewards under these programs and protect your rights. Our clients are not only brave, but they are also brilliant and resourceful. We work closely with each client and ensure they are treated fairly throughout the process.

Don’t Quit

While it’s always a personal choice to quit a toxic work environment, resigning from a company after blowing the whistle can make it more difficult for you to pursue legal action against your employer. When you quit, the company may argue that you were fired for a legitimate non-retaliatory reason.

If you quit, your employer may also attempt to retaliate against you by making it harder for you to do your job or get another job in your field. Examples of this type of retaliation include:

  • Cutting your hours.
  • Denying you overtime or vacation time.
  • Reassigning you to a different department.
  • Giving you a negative employment performance evaluation.

Whistleblower laws protect you from retaliation for engaging in “protected activities.” In general, protected activity includes filing a complaint with a government agency, complaining to a supervisor or coworker, or participating in internal or external investigations of illegal or unethical conduct.

Before blowing the whistle, consider contacting an organization that supports the protection of whistleblowers and can provide advice on how to disclose information safely. You should also consult your loved ones about the professional and personal impacts of blowing the whistle. It’s a huge responsibility that can force you from your career fields, subject you to a public smear campaign, and cause severe psychological trauma.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Whistleblowers are vital to our society, revealing the legal and ethical wrongdoings of businesses, specific people, or even government agencies. They have the difficult task of being a voice for the people. They can face severe consequences for their brave actions, such as losing their jobs, facing public smear campaigns or even suffering psychological trauma.

Unfortunately, despite numerous laws that prevent retaliation, it remains all too common. Wrongdoers often fear being exposed and retaliate against actual or suspected whistleblowers to avoid being found out.

The best way to protect yourself is to get solid legal and other expert advice early. Learning about the laws governing your situation, including the statute limitations for filing a whistleblower lawsuit, is crucial.

You should also find out which authorities to contact with the information you have – many government agencies will agree to conceal your identity if you wish and provide a safe method for you to communicate it. For example, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has a SecureDrop server where you can safely submit your tip-off.

Additionally, it would help if you considered consulting with a journalist who regularly covers these kinds of stories – they may be able to spread the word on your behalf and guarantee your safety. However, be careful not to record conversations without consent – in some states, it is illegal to record someone else without their permission.

Stay Confident

The decision to blow the whistle on a company or government agency’s wrongdoing is courageous and a considerable risk. Sadly, it’s also often when many whistleblowers face harsh retaliation from superiors and coworkers. This is why it is essential to educate potential whistleblowers on the best practices they can use to avoid severe reprisals.

The first step is educating your employees on the various forms of retaliation. Ideally, ethics training should include role-playing scenarios covering overt and more subtle types of retaliation, such as giving the whistleblower the cold shoulder or not allowing them to complete their job duties.

Another essential part of educating your staff is making them aware that they can contact the federal office that oversees their whistleblower protection laws and file a complaint if they feel they have been retaliated against. The statutes of limitations for this vary, so be sure to provide your employees with a handy chart that lists the deadlines.

It’s also essential to let your employees know that remaining anonymous or confidential during the whistleblowing process is okay. You can encourage this by sharing stories of other brave employees who have taken this option. Providing generalized examples (as opposed to specific names) of how their complaints were investigated, how quickly the issue was addressed, and what benefits the company received from the whistleblower’s report can help build confidence in your employee base.