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Sterling Employment Law

Being a whistleblower may take some bravery

If you see something going on at your business or with your employer that you know is wrong, do you have what it takes to be a whistleblower? It is not unusual to not want to be the one to expose unethical practices or illegal activity. It can be scary to say the least, and for good reason.

However, there are laws to protect whistleblowers. The Michigan Whistleblowers' Protection Act states that it is against the law "for employers in Michigan to discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate against you regarding your compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges of employment" in retaliation for being a whistleblower. If any of these things occur, you can seek legal help for protection. Your attorney can advise you on how to handle different situations and take any necessary legal action.

Still, there are some things you need to think about before blowing the whistle. You will want to do some general planning.

Here are some tips that might help:

  • Decide if you are going public with the information, or if you will remain anonymous. If you are to remain anonymous, you will need to decide how to divulge the information and be careful not to let on it was you.
  • Make sure that what you believe is improper is really considered misconduct and not just poor behavior.
  • Be sure you have evidence or some way to back up your claim.
  • Gather any documents or information you will need and keep copies in a safe place.
  • Talk to your loved ones before doing anything; they will be involved if you are involved.
  • Think about how your employer or coworkers are going to react and have a plan for dealing with them.
  • Stick to facts only when you tell your story; don't exaggerate or dress it up.

Finally, speak to legal counsel before you do anything. You want to be sure you are protected and have someone to help if the situation gets out of hand or you need legal assistance.

Source: GAP (Government Accountability Project), "Whistleblowing Survival Tips," accessed Jan. 11, 2018

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Sterling Employment Law

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