Things to Consider for Would-be Whistleblowers
If you are considering becoming a whistleblower, you should think about the consequences before you take that huge step. There have been instances where whistleblowers lose their jobs, get death threats or are blacklisted by employers. In some cases, blowing the whistle leads to social and emotional problems. Clearly, there are many implications here so it is perfectly in order to consider certain factors before you blow the whistle. Below are some things to consider for would-be whistleblowers.
Living with the Economic Consequences
Once you blow the whistle, you life will never be the same again. If the organization you exposed is powerful enough, executives of that establishment may take drastic action against you. If you work in the same industry as the people you exposed, they might blacklist you. If you run your own firm, they might turn both existing and potential clients against you. It is important that you think about the economic or financial implications of your action before you become whistleblower.
Implications for Your Family
Sometimes, becoming a whistleblower might mean relocation or living under a different identity. This is especially true if the organization or people involved are very powerful. Now, if you are married with children, this could have some adverse effects on your family life. Would you like to leave your present location and live elsewhere? Will your spouse and kids be happy with this drastic change? These are serious issues and you need to think about them before you blow the whistle.
Do You Have Enough Evidence?
Becoming a whistleblower can get quite complicated. Under the Frank Dodd Act, you have clearly spelt out whistleblower rights. However, you still have to do a bit of homework before the authorities act on the information you have provided. Do you have enough evidence? Have you followed through on all the complex procedures to make the authorities act on the information you have given them? The point is that there are no half-measures here. You must ensure you have enough solid evidence before you start the whistle blowing process.
If you work for the organization you are about to expose, there might be legal consequences. You are probably a top executive in the company in question. Maybe the infractions you are reporting now have been going on for a while in the company. It is possible you condoned some of these bad practices in the past without reporting them immediately they occurred. If this is true, you might be an accessory to the crimes committed by your firm. As a whistleblower, you might negotiate for a lighter sentence or a suspended sentence if the people involved (including you) face prosecution. Are prepared to undergo this experience?
Becoming a whistleblower could have serious consequences on your peace of mind, job security and employment prospects in future. Blowing the whistle could have adverse effects on your emotional health and your social life. You should consider all the factors above and many more before you blow the whistle.