Pros and Cons of Whistleblowing

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Should you shine a light on something that is happening within your organization or agency? Standing up as a whistleblower can be a personally rewarding experience, but it can also change a person’s life in numerous ways that are unexpected. Here is a look at the pros and cons of becoming a whistleblower.

What Are the Pros of Whistleblowing?

1. There is often financial compensation.
When something illegal is happening around you, there’s a good chance that it is costing someone money somewhere. Many whistleblower laws allow for those who stand up and say that something is wrong to be compensated with a specific percentage of the money that is recovered. That can sometimes be worth millions of dollars.

2. There are legal protections in place.
Many people worry about retribution and retaliation when they become a whistleblower. There are programs in place that help to protect whistleblowers to prevent retaliation and civil laws allow whistleblowers to file suit against those who try to seek revenge.

3. It is an ethically correct decision to make.
It’s been said that there is a right way to do things and there is an easy way to do things. Whistleblowing is the right way and there is always personal satisfaction experienced when an ethically correct decision is made.

What Are the Cons of Whistleblowing?

1. Not everyone sees whistleblowing as a positive decision.
In the business world, the term “whistleblower” is synonymous with the term “snitch.” As an employee, many executives expect you to stay in line with company expectations. If you tell the world that your employer is doing something wrong, it may be difficult to find future employment.

2. People dig into your personal life.
Every attempt will be made to discredit you as a source when you decide to become a whistleblower. Your life will be looked at in infinite detail. All of your relationships and choices will be examined with a magnifying glass. Anything you would want to keep hidden is going to come to light.

3. There are personal risks.
There may be programs and laws that forbid retaliation, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Many people will go to great lengths to protect themselves from whistleblowers. That can place you at risk.

The pros and cons of whistleblowing involve anticipating a negative response while taking an ethically correct decision. Not reporting something when it has been observed could be seen as complicity. It is not a position that is wished upon anyone, but by weighing each key point, you’ll be able to make the right choice.