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Walk, Don’t Run—Experts Advise Prudence and Caution for Potential for Potential Whistleblowers

CFA—Lori Pizzani

Excerpt: “Whistleblowers need to understand what their rights are, what the laws are, and under what instances they can be protected by anti- retaliation provisions,” says Tammy Marzigliano, partner, and co-chair of the whistleblower and retaliation practice at the New York law firm Outten & Golden. Clients often tell her that this or that activity they uncovered was definitely wrong and that they consequently blew the whistle. Much to their surprise, she sometimes has to tell them that what they blew the whistle about (mismanagement, for example) is not illegal and they would not be protected under whistleblower provisions. “However, something like mismanagement because management was cooking the books or for shareholder fraud is illegal, and for each [type of case], the whistleblower laws could protect them,” she adds.

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“If you feel something is ‘off,’ reach out sooner rather than later to learn what your rights are,” says Marzigliano. “It’s harder when something adverse happens. You may be asking, ‘Did I miss out on a bonus because I blew the whistle?’”