A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Become a Whistleblower
If you have discovered someone’s wrongdoing that defrauds the government or endangers the public, you know you need to speak up. But we understand that it’s not always the easiest choice, especially if you or someone you know already tried and was dismissed.
Speaking up or reporting can also lead to serious consequences that can damage your career. In addition, there are numerous legal issues to consider when becoming a whistleblower. We take you through them below.
How to Become a Whistleblower
Anyone with information about an individual or organization’s fraud against the government, tax violations, and other illegal activities can potentially become a whistleblower. Here are the steps on how to be a whistleblower so you can file your claim:
1. Talk to an experienced whistleblower lawyer
Competent legal representation is a must if you aim to win a whistleblower case. Choose your whistleblower attorney carefully by making sure they are well-versed in whistleblower laws. With an experienced whistleblower attorney guiding you, you can confirm if there is actual fraud and other illegal activities happening, and if you have a case.
2. Gather evidence
Together with your lawyer, gather as much evidence as you could to support your claim. Collect documents that prove fraud, as long as you have legal access to them.
3. File a whistleblower claim
With your evidence on hand and an experienced lawyer to guide you, you can file for the right whistleblower suit. There are various types of whistleblower claims, from healthcare and procurement fraud to fraud against investors.
4. Help with the investigation
Cooperate with the investigation as much as you can. With solid evidence and support from the government, you and your lawyer can stay involved and communicate all relevant information you’ve gathered.
Elements of a Whistleblower Claim
You must reasonably believe that an individual or institution violated a law
Whistleblower claims that are unfounded may not stand in court. As such, the first element of a whistleblower claim is having reasonable grounds to suspect illegal activities and to report in good faith your suspicion to responsible persons or authorities.
You must meet the legal definition of a whistleblower
You are only a whistleblower if you actually “blew the whistle,” so to speak. This means making a protected disclosure by reporting to an authority what you believe to be someone’s unlawful conduct. Keep in mind that the definition of protected disclosure depends on the illegal activity you’re reporting (false claims, discrimination, damage to the environment, etc.).
The individual or institution you exposed retaliated against you
Finally, a whistleblower case is more likely to yield a positive determination if you suffered retaliatory action from the individual or institution you exposed. This may include suspension, demotion, or termination. Retaliation also takes the form of harassment and hostile working environment.
Take Informed Legal Actions
Being a whistleblower is a serious undertaking with potential consequences. This is why it’s important to make informed decisions and get legal representation if you wish to pursue a claim.
Whistleblower Info Center is your online resource for advice, tips, and how-tos when it comes to whistleblowing. Our experts can also recommend you to a whistleblower attorney. Schedule a free consultation today.
Your submission is privileged and confidential. We will not share your information without your permission.
Contacting us doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship. By evaluating your potential case, we aren’t agreeing to represent you, and you aren’t obligated to engage us. That requires a formal written contract.