Blowing the whistle on illegal or immoral activity is oftentimes the right thing to do, but it is always a serious step. Whistleblowers serve society by making sure that harmful, illicit actions undertaken by bad actors will be revealed and dealt with appropriately.
Despite that fact, whistleblowers can easily find themselves facing related troubles. Heeding four simple, proven pieces of advice will help protect any whistleblower in just about any situation.
A Few Basic Tactics Provide Protection for Whistleblowers of All Kinds
Thousands of whistleblowers each year cast light on activities forbidden by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission alone. The United States Department of Labor investigates thousands of cases annually that are brought to it by whistleblowers, as well.
Many of these incidents of whistleblowing and others end up producing significant positive benefits. At the same time, whistleblowers sometimes end up making mistakes that cause them avoidable harm. Whistleblowers who heed the following four tips tend to be better protected than those who do not:
- Seek out support. Even when particular whistleblowers are well sheltered by existing laws, actually obtaining the benefit of that protection can be challenging. Arranging for legal representation from Brady & Associates or another firm can end up being one of the most important steps of all. Whistleblowers who fail to seek out legal counsel inevitably prove more likely to succumb to the challenges that face them later on.
- Plan ahead. Although it will never be possible to predict every possible future development accurately, whistleblowers inevitably fare better when they plan and think strategically. That can be as simple as creating a list of actions that will need to be undertaken, preferably with the help of someone who is experienced with the process. Actively planning will reveal potential threats and other possibilities that might otherwise have been overlooked. Updating a plan as recent developments merit will always be helpful, as well.
- Keep a low profile. Some whistleblowers end up making things more difficult on themselves by attracting too much attention. Any obvious changes in behavior around the time that the whistle will be blown can alert others that something unusual is afoot. Whistleblowers normally do best to stick as closely as possible to their usual, established routines before, during, and after making the leap. Keeping a low profile makes it less likely that unwanted attention will interfere with carefully developed plans.
- Document everything. Finally, anyone who considers blowing the whistle on others should make a habit of documenting every relevant development as extensively and accurately as possible. Even simply taking some notes after having a significant conversation can end up being very useful later on. In some cases and jurisdictions, lawyers will even advise whistleblowers to record their interactions with others. As such activities can create legal exposure for a whistleblower, though, it will always be best to engage in them only after consulting with an attorney.
Blowing the Whistle Does Not Need to Mean Suffering for It
Some people who blow the whistle on others do so heedlessly of the negative consequences that can follow. In practice, though, there are effective ways for any whistleblower to keep the cost of this socially valuable type of activity as low as possible. Whistleblowers who prepare and act strategically tend to protect themselves in the process.