Image of Are second-hand whistleblower reports credible, and do they merit investigation?

Are second-hand whistleblower reports credible, and do they merit investigation?

Study Reveals that Second-Hand Whistleblower Reports Are Credible

A recent study found that second-hand whistleblower reports can be credible and merit investigation. The study found that while first-hand reports often include more detailed information and are often more accurate than those that are second-hand, second-hand reports are more likely to be substantiated by management and can at times be the only source of information about certain occurrences. Second-hand whistleblower reports will often be the only source of information in sensitive situations where a first-hand whistleblower may fear retaliation or other negative consequences for speaking out. Although a second-hand report may not provide enough information for an organization to take immediate action, it can provide management with an important starting point for further investigations.

The common practice of retaliating against employees for blowing the whistle on misconduct or wrongdoing can discourage those with knowledge of violations of law, rules, regulations, or other misconduct from coming forward and speaking out. Whistleblowers with first-hand knowledge of wrongdoing may be afraid of stepping forward, especially when the misconduct is severe. In addition to fearing retaliation, whistleblowers with first-hand knowledge from direct involvement in misconduct may also wish to avoid speaking out to avoid association with the conduct. Therefore, a whistleblower with second-hand information may be the only source in certain cases of extreme misconduct. Second-hand accounts can be valuable and are worth consideration.

The study explains that this insight is especially helpful when assessing the whistleblower account that started the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s conduct. In finding that second-hand reports are 47.7% more likely than first-hand reports to be determined by management to be substantiated, it concludes that second-hand reports often are credible and at least worth further investigation. Although second-hand whistleblower reports may require more inquiry and follow-up than those that are first-hand, they merit investigation. In dealing with second-hand whistleblower reports, organizations should consider their value and merit before summarily dismissing them.

Whistleblower Retaliation Lawyers

If you have suffered retaliation for whistleblowing, call our experienced whistleblower lawyers today at 202-262-8959.  Whistleblower retaliation can take many forms and can exact both a financial and emotional toll on the whistleblower.  Federal and state whistleblower retaliation laws provide a wide range of remedies, including lost wages, compensatory damages, and punitive damages.

 

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Jason Zuckerman, Principal of Zuckerman Law, litigates whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, wrongful discharge, and other employment-related claims. He is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” in 2015 and selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® and in SuperLawyers.

Katherine Krems represents employees in discrimination, sexual harassment, and whistleblower retaliation cases. She is focused on finding creative solutions and maximizing her clients’ recoveries. Prior to law school, she worked on policy reforms in Congress to strengthen the rights of workers, women, and marginalized groups.