Uncovering fraud at work can be an intimidating experience. You know you need to report it, but you may worry about what could happen at work after you become a whistleblower.
You may already understand that your employer is not supposed to retaliate against you because of your claim, but employers tend to be subtle if they choose to try to retaliate. In some cases, an employer will mistreat a whistleblower subconsciously.
After you uncover or report fraud, it is essential to know what qualifies as retaliation and what you should watch for. Here’s what you should know about recognizing whistleblower retaliation.
Subtle signs of retaliation
Before whistleblower protections, actions against whistleblowers were fairly obvious. Employers would be clear that an employee was getting unfair treatment because they discovered and reported fraud.
Now, employers are less obvious but may still find ways to make your life uncomfortable, such as:
- Changes in working hours
- Reduced shifts
- Passed over for promotions and other opportunities
- Excessive negativity or micromanagement
Rather than being blatantly aggressive, an employer trying to retaliate will try to make you so uncomfortable that you want to leave on your own.
Knowing your rights
Whistleblower protections are there to support you when your employer tries to retaliate after your attempt to do the right thing. While not every negative interaction is a sign of retaliation, a change in behavior or treatment after your report can be a sign that your employer is trying to make you uncomfortable.
When it is time to demonstrate retaliation, it will typically mean looking at how you were treated before and after blowing the whistle on your employer. Often, when there is a significant negative change in treatment while you are still performing at the same level as before, it could suggest retaliation.