Finding a good place to work is not always easy, which is why when some Michigan employees find out their company is engaging in wrongdoing, they hesitate to report it for fear of being fired. It is true there are professional and even personal risks to blowing the whistle, but it is not a given that you would lose your job. There are steps a whistleblower can take to avoid retaliation and stand a chance of staying at a current workplace.
Per FindLaw, one of the important factors a whistleblower should consider is discretion. If a superior suspects you might blow the whistle on illegal activity, retaliation might result. You could be fired for supposedly legitimate reasons, or absent that, some form of disciplinary action might result to try and sully your name. Some whistleblowers choose to remain anonymous for a time. It is up to you to determine if you can do that as well given the information you possess.
Whistleblowers should also try to keep as many records as possible of their work performance so that a superior cannot try to claim the whistleblower was unprofessional or violated company policy in way. Document your work activities, and if possible, retain copies of your performance evaluations and disciplinary reports. Also keep copies of company documents that describe the policies of the company to establish how your actions comply with company procedures.
If a company is committing illegal acts, company superiors may be tracking company communications. Marketwatch warns that whistleblowers should not use company communication devices, such as computers or phones, to relay information and inquiries to attorneys or to the press. If a whistleblower is discovered, the company may initiate action against the whistleblower first, such as a lawsuit or a threat of one.
Some whistleblowers even play a part in the misconduct of a company, not knowing it was wrong. They might fear that if they come forward, they will be implicated in the misconduct, or their activity will render them not credible. Potential whistleblowers in this position should ask an attorney about any possible risks that their actions might cause a problem.
In general, it is wise to ask legal counsel about options before moving forward. Some issues might not be eligible for whistleblower protection. If a particular case is, there are many different whistleblower laws that offer protection, such as the False Claims Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the SEC whistleblower program. Depending on your particular case, a state or federal law may offer you the best protection.