Although most businesses succeed when they put their best foot forward and act in good faith, companies or individuals within companies sometimes commit crimes. Some of these crimes can be against other employees, consumers or other types of crime that could result in prosecution by state, local or federal authorities.
Reporting criminal activity
If you suspect that your company is committing a crime, consider the following and take appropriate action:
- Who is committing the crime, and what is the crime?
- How certain are you that this is a crime and that it was committed? Did you witness it, or did someone tell you about it?
- Is the crime a financial crime?
- Is the crime against another individual within the company?
- Is the crime against a consumer or group of consumers?
It is critical to have enough information to communicate what you know. Make sure to document whatever you observe and if you have witnesses or encounter others who claim to have witnessed or seen the same thing, ask them to take action with you.
In addition, you can also inquire about a confidential hotline for reporting. Some companies offer this service. If the company itself, however, at its highest levels, is committing the crime and you are certain of it, you must report it to the appropriate authority.
For example, financial fraud within the company is reported differently than financial fraud at a company-wide level. If you are in doubt, ask your government authorities. They will point you in the right direction and guide you as to where you should go to report this crime.
Check your employee manual
Keep in mind, as well, that many companies require employees to report any illegal activity seen within the company, whether that is to human resources or another authority, so make sure to do so if you witness a crime being committed.
Lastly, witnessing a crime in your company is never a pleasant situation. Make sure that you are safe and that you do not place yourself at risk in the process of disclosing a crime.