Internal vs. External Whistleblowing
Sometimes we witness certain actions in the workplace that cause us to be concerned. You might see a co-worker get harassed by another co-worker. Perhaps you notice a dangerous situation that can cause someone to get injured. Maybe you see an employee embezzle money from the safe.
It’s easy to keep going on with your day and not say anything. However, it’s important to speak up so that these situations get handled promptly. Many people are afraid to speak up, however, because they fear retaliation. Employers tend to get threatened by employees who try to get in the company’s business and tell management how to operate. Employers often seek revenge by retaliating against these employees.
Internal and external whistleblowing, however, are an employee’s right. If something illegal or immoral is happening in the workplace, it’s important that it gets reported. You shouldn’t be worried about retaliation because it is illegal for employers. Read on to learn about the two main types of whistleblowing and the laws that protect you as an employee.
Internal whistleblowing is often the first step for employees who want to report something unethical happening inside the company. They may tell management about the problem in hopes that something will change. By keeping the incident internal only, the company avoids bad publicity while it works to rectify the situation.
Every company should have a whistleblowing policy in place that instructs employees of the proper procedures for reporting a questionable workplace incident.
When a company discourages internal whistleblowing, or retaliates against employees who do so, they only hurt themselves. The wronged employee may notify the press, law enforcement or other agencies and report the problem. This is called the external whistleblowing.
External whistleblowing can mean a lot of trouble for a corporation. Once everyone finds out about the misconduct, it can lead to bad publicity and reduced revenues. That’s why companies should make it easy for employees to report problems. It makes things easier in the long run.
Laws That Apply
The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a federal law that protects government employees from retaliation for whistleblowing. Employees may report dangerous conditions, violations of laws, waste of funds, gross mismanagement and abuse of authority.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also has a whistleblower protection program in place. Under this program, employees who report injuries or safety violations are protected against retaliation from their employers. Those who have been fired or faced other adverse employment events from their reporting can file a complaint.
Contact New York Employment Law Attorneys
Employers don’t always engage in activities that are fair or ethical. If you find injustice happening at your workplace, don’t be afraid to blow the whistle. If you are facing retaliation for whistleblowing—which is your legal right—it’s time to seek help to protect your job.
If you were fired or faced other adverse action for whistleblowing, contact a lawyer to determine your next steps. The experienced New York employment law attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can help determine which laws apply. Schedule a free consultation today by contacting our firm at (347) 464-8694.