The saying “if you see something, say something” has its origins in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Korey Kay & Partners’, the Manhattan ad agency responsible for the slogan, had the MTA in mind but could have just as easily been describing the important role that whistleblowers play in the workplace and throughout society.
As corporations and government bureaucracies become more complex than ever before, the accounts of whistleblowers on the inside are more important than ever in holding individuals, government agencies, and business entities accountable.
A quick search of recent news headlines demonstrates the crucial role that whistleblowers play, resulting in the following stories:
- National Whistleblower Center Requests Bank of England Withdraw ‘Deleterious’ Whistleblower Report (Source: The National Whistleblower Legal Defense & Education Fund)
- Senator Grassley Reminds FBI Agents of Their Whistleblower Rights (Source: The National Whistleblower Legal Defense & Education Fund)
- $1.4 Million Whistleblower Lawsuit Alleges Retaliation by Turner Police Chief (Source: Statesman Journal)
While information from whistleblowers plays a crucial role, being a whistleblower is not without risk. Employees often face retaliation from employers and even lose their job because of coming forward and doing the right thing. Examples include:
- Reporting workplace safety violations
- Refusing to participate in illegal activity
- Encouraging superiors to comply with regulations
- Reporting illegal behavior of colleagues or superiors
Being terminated in retaliation for reporting illegal or unethical behavior is illegal, as whistleblowers enjoy strong protection under State and Federal law. However, pursuing those rights can seem daunting. Having the representation of an experienced employment law attorney is a crucial factor in obtaining a favorable outcome.