In the last several years, there have been a shocking number of high-profile whistleblowing cases illustrating in harsh terms just how often those working in both the public and private sectors are faced with the difficult prospect of turning in a co-worker or employer for unlawful activities. While it would be nice to think that the ones writing your paychecks and facilitating your career are trustworthy and law-abiding, this is far too often not the case. If you are considering becoming a whistleblower, there are some things you need to know.
If not you, then who?
In order for there to be justice, someone will have to take action - whatever illegalities you are witnessing will almost certainly not go away or be made right on their own. This can be a very heavy burden to bear, and one that comes with its share of risks.
Fortunately for you, the law is built to be in favor of whistleblowers like yourself. The surge in both corporate and governmental whistleblowers in recent years has been spurred on by state and federal governments recognizing what crucial roles these brave citizens play. The response has increased both the incentives and protections for those who choose to do the right thing and take action.
Clearly, bringing your employer or coworkers under the scrutiny of the law is a personal and professional minefield that must be navigated very carefully. The good news is that you do not have to (and should not) do this alone.
You do not have to act alone
If you believe that you may have a legitimate qui tam suit, a wise initial step to consider before making any further moves is consulting with an experienced attorney. Ideally, this attorney should have a significant bank of experience in qui tam cases and understand the process intimately. He or she can then advise you on how to proceed to protect your interests.
Evidence is paramount
No matter what the violation may be that you are observing, you will need as much quality
evidence as possible in order to successfully bring a suit. Even if there is a violation occurring, the evidence must be very strong to warrant the great personal and professional risk you are taking to shed light on the issue.
The law provides for whistleblowers to be compensated handsomely if their suit is successful, and not least because choosing to become one can seriously derail or entirely end a career, as well as put those you love at risk.
What is right is right
While there have been more and more whistleblowers coming forward in recent years, there are still far more who say nothing and go with the flow, choosing to let someone else be the one to take decisive action. Ultimately, you are the only one who can make the choice for yourself to serve the greater good and help put a stop to illegal activities. It is understandable to be conflicted - doing the right thing is rarely easy, but it is still right.
When you are ready to take action, the careful guidance of an attorney with years of experience in qui tam suits can help ensure that you are not only doing the right thing, but that you are also taking the wisest steps to get there.