Dispelling misconceptions surrounding whistleblowing laws

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2023 | Employment Law |

In 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Committee reported that they received over 12,000 whistleblower complaints. Whistleblowing, the act of exposing wrongful or illegal activities within an organization, plays a pivotal role in maintaining ethical standards in the corporate world. The state of Delaware, renowned for its pro-business laws and court systems, also emphasizes strong whistleblower protections.

Yet, many misconceptions cloud the understanding of whistleblowing laws, potentially discouraging potential whistleblowers or skewing public perception. Addressing these misconceptions is important to help foster a transparent and accountable business culture.

Only employees can be whistleblowers

One common misunderstanding is that only employees of a company can act as whistleblowers. In fact, the Delaware Whistleblowers’ Protection Act covers more than just employees. The law extends protection to independent contractors and other non-employees who report misconduct. Therefore, if you work with a Delaware-based company in any capacity, the law protects you.

Whistleblowers need concrete evidence to report

Another misconception is that whistleblowers must provide concrete evidence when reporting misconduct. However, Delaware law does not demand this. Instead, you only need a reasonable belief that misconduct has occurred. You do not need to play detective; the law encourages speaking up if you suspect wrongdoing.

Whistleblowing offers no job protection

Perhaps the most damaging misconception is that whistleblowing could lead to job loss with no legal recourse. Contrary to this belief, the law provides strong protections against retaliatory actions, such as termination, demotion or harassment. If you suffer retaliation for blowing the whistle, you can seek legal remedies, which can include reinstatement and compensation for damages.

Understanding the actual provisions of Delaware’s whistleblowing laws is important for all employees. Legislators designed the law to protect, not to punish. Remember, if you see something that does not seem right, your state laws are there to protect you.