Have you ever seen something wrong in the workplace and felt like you should speak up? Everyday people witness waste, fraud, and abuses of power in the workplace but are unsure what to do about it. The stakes are high. Making the ethical decision can be hard when blowing the whistle can be a career-ending move. Thinking of blowing the whistle? Here are some quick tips:
- Consider whether there is a reasonable way to work within the system.
- Engage in whistleblowing initiatives on your own time and with your own resources – don’t use your work phone or computer, etc.
- Get a legal opinion from a competent lawyer.
- Don’t embellish your charges.
- Discreetly attempt to learn of any other witnesses who are upset about the wrongdoing.
- Develop a plan – such as a strategically timed release of information to government agencies so that your employer is reacting to you, instead of vice versa.
- Maintain good relations with administration and support staff.
- Be careful to record events as they unfold. Try to construct a straightforward, factual log of the relevant activities and events on the job, keeping in mind that your employer will have access to the diary if there is a lawsuit.
- Don’t become isolated. Seek a support network of potential allies such as elected officials, journalists and activists.
- Identify and copy all necessary supporting records beforehand.
Amanda Hitt is Program Director for the Food Integrity Campaign.