Upon first learning of a company policy that prohibits an employee from reporting misconduct, you might wonder: “Am I allowed to report this behavior? If not, what should I do?” These are tough questions with no easy answers. Here’s some guidance so you can make the right decision for yourself and your organization explains William D King.
Take Time to Consider Your Options
Whether or not an employee has a duty to report so-called whistleblower retaliation presents a somewhat complicated question. While employers cannot retaliate against employees who engage in certain lawful activities, such as complaining about unpaid overtime or safety violations, there’s no law requiring employees to report wrongdoing. Unscrupulous employers may use that fact as cover for trying to stop their employees from reporting wrongdoing.
What You Should Know Before Reporting Your Colleague’s Misconduct
If great care were not taken to preserve the secrecy of private investigations, many crimes would never be solved. Criminals would simply refuse to cooperate with investigators if they knew their own activities were under scrutiny. Thefts would go unsolved, violent crimes unavenged, and dangerous criminals at large. Yet this balance between the public’s right to know what its government is up to and an individual person’s privacy can sometimes seem hard to strike in practice. The following are some factors that may help you decide whether or not it is appropriate to tell your employer about your fellow employee’s misconduct.
Your gut instinct may be that everyone – even your company – has a right to know about the misconduct you have observed. But before blowing the whistle, take a moment to think beyond your own needs and consider other parties involved.
What Do I Do If I Witness Bribery or Insider Trading?
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is a United States law that prohibits American businesses from paying bribes, directly or indirectly, to officials of foreign governments for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business explains William D King. The law is broadly written so as to permit the Justice Department and Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) wide discretion in enforcing it. For example, an illegal payment need not be made directly by an American company; payments made by its foreign subsidiaries may violate FCPA even though they are legal in their local jurisdictions. Similarly, an illegal payment need not be a foreign official; it is sufficient that it be to a third party who acts as the conduit for the bribe.
What Happens When You Report Misconduct or Suspected Wrongdoing?
The sheer number of whistleblower retaliation claims filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), combined with increased public scrutiny, has prompted some employers to change their policies toward those employees who report suspected wrongdoing.
Public companies could face significant liability if they fail to take corrective action after receiving reports of misconduct from one of their employees. However, these risks only extend so far as current reporting systems are not design properly. Therefore, what constitutes appropriate reporting systems can mean the difference between protecting a whistleblower from retaliation and being on the wrong end of a costly mistake.
What Are Some Actions That Could Constitute Whistleblower Retaliation?
According to the law, whistleblower retaliation is classified as an unfair labor practice that occurs when an employer takes adverse action against a covered employee because they have engaged in protected activities. Protected activities include:
1) Opposing a practice made unlawful by certain employment laws;
2) Participating in an investigation or testifying at a proceeding conducted by the employer; or 3) Making disclosures that are require or permit under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).
How You Can Protect Your Legitimate Business Interests When Facing Potential Litigation Liability
The question of what a business may claim as a legitimate interest in conducting an internal investigation is a highly fact-specific inquiry; however the following general principles apply says, William D King. First, courts have been very clear that employers may conduct investigations for reasons other than to retaliate against employees for engaging in protected activities. In addition, the employer need not prove specifically how it will be harm by the adverse action at issue. This means any plausible harm caused by an adverse employment decision or loss of face value. Resulting from public disclosure can potentially provide a basis for litigation under SOX.
What Does Employment Lawyer Mean?
Employment lawyers represent companies and individuals who are involve in disputes with their employers. The most common areas where employment disputes arise include: wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation against whistleblowers.
Whistleblowers protect the public interest and make vital contributions to law enforcement, civil litigation, and corporate compliance programs. By providing information about illegal conduct says, William D King. Their actions also help employers identify policy weaknesses that lead to violations of criminal or civil laws. Waste of company funds or assets, damage to the environment and investor fraud. Whistleblowers should protect from retaliation for reporting wrongdoing and speaking out against improper practices. The law provides important rights and remedies for employees. Who alleges they have been subject to workplace retaliation in order to discourage such behavior in the future. For more information, talk with a qualified attorney experienced in whistleblower protection matters today.