In an earlier blog post we gave the definition of a whistle-blower, discussed how the process works for becoming a whistle-blower, and who can become a whistle-blower.
In this post we will highlight the pros and cons of becoming a whistle blower.
Depending on whom you’re talking with or about, a whistle-blower could be revered as a standup and morally sound person who does what’s right, or decried as an opportunistic individual only looking to get himself ahead, or worse, as somebody who is untrustworthy and betrayed his friends and colleagues.
Ultimately, these different views shed a lot of light on the top considerations you have to go through in your own head before taking that step to be a whistleblower.
The positives of being a whistle-blower
- Your decision to move ahead or not will depend greatly on your internal scale of weighing the pros and cons of a particular circumstance or situation. You may feel very strongly that a particular action, set of actions, policy or anything else is very detrimental or purposely misleading, or simply against the law, and that something needs to be done about this. The pro then is helping the greater good, putting an end to that, and being able to live with yourself morally.
- Another potential positive outcome would be a reward from the SEC or another agency. These rewards may be hard to come by though for a whistleblower, based upon strict and rigid requirements and rules. Another form of reward would be based on a potentially likely outcome of you being fired, demoted or held back in your company, which could lead to direct legal action and settlements in your favor.
The negatives of being a whistle-blower
- The ramifications may be more far reaching than you may think. In your own mind, being a whistleblower means taking a positive, moral action. But for many people, the person who ends up blowing the whistle, so to speak, ends up as the one who is untrustworthy or unsavory.
- People do not like being betrayed, and even if you did “the right thing”, you could tarnish your reputation. This includes directly in your current position with your bosses, coworkers and colleagues, as well as potentially across your industry as you look for other employers. A great deal of negativity could end up being pushed in your direction, and people will find plenty of bad things to say, whether they accuse you of wrongdoing and fault or otherwise point the finger back at you, talk about you publicly and so forth.
- Theoretically, in many situations there are regulations in place for confidential or anonymous whistle blowing. In practice though, this won’t always play out in that fashion, whether people draw their own conclusions or the information comes out and is confirmed through one means or another.
Clearly, there’s a lot at stake in this situation, and you must consider many different factors, weighing these benefits and drawbacks for yourself. Before you take that leap and decide to be a whistleblower, be sure to protect yourself by seeking legal counsel. And if you are already facing backlash as a result of this type of action, you should also immediately seek the assistance of an experienced attorney who can pick up your cause.
If you are the victim of a defective product or medical device you are urged to seek legal advice from a personal injury attorney.
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