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Maintaining confidentiality as a whistleblower

| Feb 28, 2020 | Civil Litigation, Whistleblowers |

Taking a stand against unethical or illegal practices can be scary, even if you’re doing it anonymously. If the person or company you’re reporting is your employer, you may be even more worried. You may be concerned about what this will mean for you as an employee and whether you will be able to keep your job, reputation and overall livelihood.

Current laws in place for whistleblowers

There are different laws in place that protect whistleblowers. On the federal level, the Whistleblower Protection Act only protects current or past federal employees. And if you are not a federal employee, there are state-level statutes and laws in place that can protect you.

These state laws protect whistleblowers from retaliation and discrimination. This means your employer cannot fire you, demote you, or otherwise discriminate against you if they learn you disclosed company secrets.

Whistleblower Confidentiality

The laws in place do not explicitly protect your anonymity. If you do not want to reveal your identity, there are a few things you may want to consider:

  • Work with an advocacy group or a journalist. Instead of revealing the information yourself anonymously online or through other methods, working directly with a journalist can provide you with an extra level of protection. They can release the information to the public while keeping your name out of it and limiting any trace evidence back to you.
  • Remove any identifying information. Safeguard anything that can lead back to you in the documents or files you are exposing. This can be tricky, especially if the disclosed information was shared with a limited number of people. The less evidence that links back to you will only further guarantee your anonymity.
  • Make a plan that protects your confidentiality. If you’re working with another party to expose your employer, it can be useful to form an agreement that explicitly states they cannot reveal your identity. This way, you’re not exposing yourself to any risks by going forward as a whistleblower.

Blowing the whistle on your employer can have many repercussions. It’s important to remember that despite taking measures to protect your identity, it may still come to light. Your employer may be able to find out and take action against you regardless of the laws in place.

But if you believe you have strong evidence to expose your employer and you want to stand up for what is right, make sure you are well-supported and protected. Consider discussing your options with an experienced Pennsylvania attorney who understands the delicate nature of whistleblowing.