What to Do if Your Company Asks You to Do Something Illegal or Unethical
If your employer fires you for refusing to participate in something illegal or unethical while on the job, you may have a claim against the company. There is legal protection for whistleblowers who are fired for reporting a company’s illegal activity or for refusing to participate.
NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES FOR SPEAKING UP
If your employer asks you do something illegal or unethical, it can feel like a lose-lose situation. You’re probably afraid of the ramifications you’ll face for refusing – such as being fired or even facing dangerous personal consequences. If you feel as if someone is threatening your personal safety if you refuse, it can be difficult to stand your ground and report your employer.
If you agree to go along with the activity, however, it can result in even worse consequences. If you participate in illegal workplace activity, such as destroying data, illegal hiring or termination, over-billing, or others, you could be involved in moral, professional, and legal ramifications for the rest of your lifetime. You can see how difficult these situations can be for an employee. Luckily, there is a solution.
WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION IN AMERICA
In every state in America, there are laws in place to protect people who give information about their employers’ actions. Not only are whistleblowers protected, they’re actually rewarded for reporting illegal activity. While you may suffer serious retaliations for reporting your employer’s wrongdoings, you can also gain major rewards.
The courts refer to whistleblower cases as “qui tam” cases, where a significant legal violation involving fraudulent activity has occurred. When a qui tam lawsuit is successfully executed by a whistleblower attorney, the whistle-blowing plaintiff is entitled to a percentage of the recovery won in the case. Other benefits are the moral and personal rewards you’ll gain knowing you refused to participate in an illegal practice and regained government funds.
WHAT TO DO IN TRICKY EMPLOYMENT SITUATIONS
If your boss asks you to perform an illegal or unethical action, you need to take steps to protect your personal safety above all else. Fully understand the situation and don’t overreact to your employer’s initial request. A knee-jerk reaction can lead your boss to take steps to ostracize or fire you. Instead, calmly ask the employer to repeat the request and make sure you get all of the facts.
Then, trust your inner moral compass and gut instincts to tell you if what your employer is requesting is illegal or immoral. If you know for sure the request involves illegal activity, such as over-billing customers to make more profit, you’ll know what to do. If, however, you’re on the fence about the request, ask plenty of questions and try to get to the bottom of what your employer is asking.
Once you’ve ascertained your employer is requesting something immoral or illegal, take measures to protect yourself. If possible, reason with your boss before blowing the whistle. Explain the concerns you have about the request, and see if you can make your employer choose a different route.
Never let your employer bully, threaten, or blackmail you into obeying an illegal request. You could end up in significant legal trouble or be sent to jail for complying. If you feel bullied, go to the authorities instead of trying to reason with your boss. Your personal safety is the Number 1 factor to consider.
SEEK EXPERT HELP WITH YOUR QUI TAM WHISTLEBLOWER CASE
If you’re involved in a delicate situation with your employer, or if your employer has fired you for refusing to participate in illegal or unethical activity, you have rights. To work with a group of qui tam lawyers with experience in these tricky situations, contact Hill & Associates. We have all the information you need to understand your rights, legal protections, and potential rewards for being a whistleblower of illegal employer activity, and can defend your case in court.