Q: I started a new job at a nonprofit. While I have not been asked to do anything illegal, I am aware of a number of illegalities, including misappropriation of funds. I'm looking for a new job, but once I find one, do I have a responsibility to inform the IRS of what I've learned?
A: Legal maven Anita L. Allen says that, indeed, you're obligated to do something. She suggests the following:
- Get your facts straight. "Otherwise, you could be sued for defamation."
- Notify the management in writing. "And keep a copy of any letters you send."
- If this doesn't work, inform the company's lawyers or auditors.
- As a last resort, speak to regulatory authorities (the IRS, the SEC) or the police. Finally, don't call reporters. "It's not fair to companies to be prematurely tried in the press. Let authorities determine if there's a substantial basis for charges before you blab to the media."
Anita L. Allen is a professor of law and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School