There are diverse feelings surrounding the protection of whistleblowers in business. If you’re not sure as to what the term is referring, a whistleblower is a person who informs legal authorities of illegal actions within a business.
Some people simply consider whistleblowers to be snitches, but there are plenty of positive ramifications surrounding the actions of whistleblowers in any industry. For many years, the laws protecting whistleblowers from retaliation didn’t extend to private operations.
Recently, this reality has changed, and private businesses have a new level of accountability for their actions. Take a look at some interesting ideas regarding whistleblowers, and consider how you might act if you were placed in such a situation.
Organizations creating a safe environment
The good news is that most businesses (private or otherwise) have begun creating a safe environment for employees seeking to report wrongdoing. If you see it from the standpoint of a business, there are gains to be made by putting an end to theft, fraud, or abuse of authority.
Creating a safe and open line of communication with professionals may actually be the best way to protect both your business and the employee from a nasty legal battle. Avoid fighting an unnecessary battle, and nip your company’s problems in the bud with a proactive approach.
Whistleblower laws vary by state
Whistleblower laws were initially brought about to encourage employees of government agencies to report instances of fraud, waste, and abuse within the organization without fear of losing their job.
However, over time, the laws have been augmented to include private operations in certain instances. Private sector employees have protection provisions to some extent, but individuals must be extremely careful and specific in their approach to any given situation.
How whistleblowers set a standard of excellence
Laws protecting whistleblowers are meant to hold businesses to a higher standard of honest operation. Working loopholes and skimming from finances is dirty business, and whistleblowers help keep business owners in check.
The reality of the whistleblower’s fate
The unpleasant reality of the situation is that whistleblowers often do face retaliation to some degree. Though the laws are clearly against such behaviors, the majority of whistleblowers experience being fired, being transferred, a demotion, suspension, or poor evaluations from superiors.
Private sector employees beware
The laws surrounding the rights of private sector professionals and whistleblowing are a bit difficult to navigate. Professionals in the private sector often lose their cases against their employers because there’s no way to connect the issue to public policy.
The point is to prove how this deviation in company policy is negatively impacting the health and/or safety of the general public. When you’re working with a private entity, the lines are easily blurred.