Conceptually, the anonymity of whistleblowers is a good thing. Brave souls who risk it all to speak truth to power and ensure that justice is done—a noble mantle indeed. However, at times the picture can become a little more murky and the lines of morality more ambiguous. What if the claims made by a whistleblower are factually false, or perhaps even the individual in question has made erroneous claims out of a malicious desire to hurt the company in question?
Any CEO or business owner would certainly want to know if something nefarious was happening within their team on their watch. However, in particular instances, they may wish to identify a whistleblower in an effort to enact swift damage control. The actions taken by any business or organization in this position must be legally sound and strategically deft if an escalation of the situation is to be avoided. In times such as these, a private investigator specializing in corporate investigations can be the ultimate ally in finding a whistleblower and setting the record straight.
The Complexities of Whistleblower Retaliation
While there are a diversity of legal protections in place for whistleblowers in the United States, they can vary greatly depending on the industry and unlawful activity in question, as well as from state to state. For any company intent on finding a whistleblower and taking action, it is important to seek accurate guidance on a course that will not result in litigation down the road.
On the other side of the same coin, perceived whistleblowers who aim to cause intentional harm to the organization they blow the whistle on can not only turn to various federal agencies to secure confidentiality protection, but they can even hope to gain a financial reward for their disclosure from an authority like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In such an environment, companies need to have their wits about them and mitigation plans in place.
Navigating What Comes Next After Finding a Whistleblower
A survey of whistleblowers conducted by the Bradley University Center for Cybersecurity revealed that nearly two thirds experienced some form of retaliation from their employers, such as termination, negative performance evaluation, industry blacklisting, and forced retirement. While legitimate whistleblowers facing such actions may be able to counter retaliation with legal action, this is not guaranteed. Notably, when businesses are able to demonstrate that the employee’s accusations were knowingly false or their behavior overstepped the defensible bounds of conduct, those protections may quickly be lost.
For a company in crisis, turning to a private investigator who specializes in navigating the corporate world is an excellent tactic. The private investigator will be able not only to investigate the identity of the whistleblower in question but gather evidence as to whether their accusations are founded or falsified. Taking this proactive step can help a business lessen the brunt of the impact that a whistleblower incident can make to their reputation.
Whether the outcome of finding a whistleblower with the help of a private investigator is being ahead of the criminal behavior that the accusation relates to or demonstrating that the whistleblower’s actions are inauthentic, it means taking a stronger position than would be realized by taking no action at all. If your organization is standing on the edge of such a precipice and wondering which move to make next, contact Lauth Investigations today for expert, impartial advice on navigation and resolution of an active whistleblower complaint.