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How To Respond To Whistleblower Demands

Two objects on a dark background: a football helmet and a whistle

May 11, 2022

The company receives a letter from a former employee, alleging the company has engaged in a financial fraud and demanding a seven-figure payment, or else he’s going to the authorities. That’s the provocative scenario that launches this post from Littler attorney Kevin E. Griffith. He says it involves “two competing but equally important legal concepts,” and he’s going to outline a range of responses that take both into account.

“One concept,” he says, “concerns the company’s long-established legal right to protect its creation of, and economic investment in, its competitive business information. The other concept involves an equally important policy to foster whistleblowing and protect the legal rights of legitimate whistleblowers from unlawful retaliation.”

The writer explains why one of the first calls to make is to your IT department. What follows, as he describes it, is a delicate dance. It could include suing the former employee and even criminal prosecution – and here he is not, as you might expect from his initial description of the scenario, talking about extortion.

 

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