What you should know before filing a whistleblower complaint

Perhaps you have witnessed wrongdoing by your employer in your workplace, such as sexual harassment of a co-worker or misuse of public funds. You know that the right thing to do is to report your concerns, but you may not know how to go about it. You may also fear punishment from your employer, such as dismissal from your job, as a result of your actions. 

We understand that the prospect of becoming a whistleblower, i.e., reporting noncompliance with the law by a superior, can be intimidating. However, you do not have to fear the consequences of telling the truth because the law is on your side. Here are some answers to questions that you may have about reporting your employer’s possible violations of the law. 

Who is eligible to file a whistleblower complaint? 

Violations of the law can occur in any industry, including hospitality, transportation, finance or medical care. Anyone who witnesses a possible act of noncompliance by an employer can file a whistleblower complaint. 

How do you make a report? 

You have two options to make a report while maintaining your whistleblower protections. You can either report your concerns to your employer directly or you can file a complaint with the appropriate state or federal agency. 

What if you are wrong about your employer’s actions? 

When looking into your complaint, a government agency may determine that your employer has committed no violation of the law. However, this should not have an adverse effect on you. As long as you made your report with the good-faith belief that your employer had violated the law, and you observed the guidelines when doing so, the law still protects you from reprisal by your employer and gives you recourse if retaliation does occur.