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Steps to take if you observe wrongdoing or misconduct at work

It is a scenario that has become all too common in workplaces across the whole world. You are dedicated worker, loyal to your duties and your employer, then you witness wrongdoing within the company. This can easily cause you stress as you wonder if you should speak up about what you know, and more importantly, how you should go about speaking up.

The good news is there are ways to feel at ease and reduce any risks of speaking up. Having a plan of what you will do in this situation can allow you less stress and the confidence to know you are doing the right thing.

The good news is there are ways to feel at ease and reduce any risks of speaking up. Having a plan of what you will do in this situation can allow you less stress and the confidence to know you are doing the right thing.

You are protected

Since it is understood that being a whistleblower can bring fear of retaliation or a firing, there are laws to protect someone speaking up. Whistleblower laws allow for you to submit information confidentially and anonymously with the help of an attorney to the proper channels. If your efforts to expose the fraud or misconduct go nowhere internally, just know you are protected if you report this information to a government agency.

Your motives

What exactly is at stake by reporting what you have seen? Are you new to the company and feel that speaking up may give you prestige or show that you are indispensable? If your motives are more personal than just wanting to correct a misconduct by your employer, you may want to decide if it is worth the effort and your standing in the company to pursue an issue. You should also question yourself about how far you want to take your complaint. You should also know if you are willing to stay at the company if they refuse to act on correcting the misconduct.

When to blow the whistle

The first time you notice that something is wrong you may be inclined to sit back to see if someone else comes forward or if the situation will work itself out. If neither of these happen or you feel more damage will happen unless something is done immediately, you will need to decide if you will become a whistleblower.

Who to go to first

This can be tricky based on both your standing in the company and how big the infraction you are reporting is. Typically, you would start with a supervisor or manager and then move to HR. If you notice there is not an attempt to resolve the issue, you should consider speaking to an attorney who can assist with your next steps.

How to express your concerns

It would not be a good idea to bust through the doors of an important meeting with the top managers while shaking papers over your head and exclaiming, "Look what I found!" If you have overwhelming evidence to support your claims, you should document everything and deliver your findings in a way that shows you are correcting a mistake and not saving the day like a super hero. Consider providing the data you have without emotion and let it do the talking for you. But you should explain why you feel what you have found can be damaging and why it needs to be addressed and corrected.

Being in a position to be a whistleblower can be stressful and nerve-racking. Your professional career and the possibility of retaliation in many different forms could be at stake. You should speak to an attorney who specializes in whistleblowing cases to get the best course of action you should take.

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3123 Atlantic Avenue
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Phone: 856-235-7075
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The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC
20000 Horizon Way, Suite 300
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

Phone: 609-345-5433
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