Whether by choice or circumstance, ending up as a whistleblower can be a tricky situation. The situation can quickly give rise to a number of legal challenges. If you're in a whistleblowing position, you should watch for these five signs it's time to retain counsel.
Contacted by the Organization's Lawyers
Companies, government agencies, and other organizations may decide there's a problem before you even realize anything is going on. If the organization's counsel has contacted you, the important thing is to say nothing and do until you've had the chance to consult with a whistleblower attorney. Take notes about who contacts you, what they mention, and when the contacts happened. If they send you any documents, make copies and safely store the originals.
Even if the pitch appears to be that you should be a team player and everything's okay, take your time before responding to any of it. You may have legal risk exposure, and the wise move is to retain counsel and plan what to do next.
If the organization or any individuals within it are retaliating against you or hinting that they might, it's time to speak with a whistleblower lawyer. Bear in mind that retaliation doesn't always take the form of firing. Some organizations are subtle in their retaliation. A firm might push a whistleblower into a less desirable position. Similarly, the organization might deny vacation time, skip bonuses, or isolate a whistleblower.
Many people try to keep their concerns in-house. After all, no one wants to believe that their employer is engaged in illegal or unethical behavior. However, efforts to bring problems to light within the company may go without a response. You may need to blow the whistle to bring problems to light, but you shouldn't do so with the support of counsel.
Another sign that you might need a whistleblower attorney is that compliance notices are coming all the time to the organization. Government agencies may be informing the company of impending action or requesting documents. Particularly if the organization seems disinterested in these compliance notices, you might want to tell the agencies. Once more, though, you don't want to do this without the guidance of a whistleblower lawyer.
Notably, many agencies offer rewards for whistleblowing. If you've blown the whistle but found the agencies are failing to pay up, it may be time to get a lawyer. A law firm can help you recover the expected reward.
Contact a whistleblower attorney in your area to learn more.Share