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A whistleblower (also written as whistle-blower or whistle blower) is a person, usually an employee, who exposes information or activity within a private, public, or government organization that is deemed illegal, illicit, unsafe, fraud, or abuse of taxpayer funds. Those who become whistleblowers can choose to bring information or allegations to surface either internally or externally. Over 83% of whistleblowers report internally to a supervisor, human resources, compliance, or a neutral third party within the company, with the thought that the company will address and correct the issues. Externally, a whistleblower can bring allegations to light by contacting a third party outside of the organization such as the media, government, or law enforcement. The most common type of retaliation reported is being abruptly terminated. However, there are several other activities that are considered retaliatory, such as sudden extreme increase in workloads, having hours cut drastically, making task completion impossible or otherwise bullying measures. Because of this, a number of laws exist to protect whistleblowers. Some third-party groups even offer protection to whistleblowers, but that protection can only go so far. Two other classifications of whistleblowing are private and public. The classifications relate to the type of organizations the whistleblower works in:
private sector The private sector is the part of the economy An economy (; ) is an area of the Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution and trade, as well as Consumption (economics), consumption of Goods (economics), goods an ...
, or
public sector The public sector (also called the state sector) is the part of the economy composed of both public service A public service is a service Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activities)'' * Administ ...
. Depending on many factors, both can have varying results. About 20% of whistleblowers are successful in stopping the illegal behaviors, usually through the legal system, with the help of a whistleblower attorney. For the whistleblower's claims to be credible and successful, the whistleblower must have compelling evidence to support their claims, that the government or regulating body can use or investigate to "prove" such claims and hold corrupt companies and/or government agencies accountable. Deeper questions and theories of whistleblowing and why people choose to do so can be studied through an ethical approach. Whistleblowing is a topic of several myths and inaccurate definitions. Leading arguments in the ideological camp, maintain that whistleblowing is the most basic of ethical traits and simply telling the truth to stop illegal harmful activities, or fraud against the government/taxpayers. In the opposite camp, many corporations and corporate or government leaders see whistleblowing as being disloyal for breaching confidentiality, especially in industries that handle sensitive client or patient information. Legal counteractive measures exist to protect whistleblowers, but that protection is subject to many stipulations. Hundreds of laws grant protection to whistleblowers, but stipulations can easily cloud that protection and leave whistleblowers vulnerable to retaliation, sometimes even threats and physical harm. However, the decision and action has become far more complicated with recent advancements in technology and communication.


Overview


Origin of term

U.S. civic activist
Ralph Nader Ralph Nader (; born February 27, 1934) is an American political activist, author, lecturer, and attorney. He is noted for his involvement in consumer protection, environmentalism, and government reform causes. The son of Lebanese immigrants to ...
is said to have coined the phrase, but he in fact put a positive spin on the term in the early 1970s to avoid the negative connotations found in other words such as "informer" and "snitch". However, the origins of the word date back to the 19th century. The word is linked to the use of a
whistle A whistle is an instrument which produces sound from a stream of gas, most commonly air. It may be mouth-operated, or powered by air pressure, steam, or other means. Whistles vary in size from a small slide whistle or nose flute type to a large ...

whistle
to alert the public or a crowd about a bad situation, such as the committing of a crime or the breaking of rules during a game. The phrase ''whistle blower'' attached itself to law enforcement officials in the 19th century because they used a whistle to alert the public or fellow police. Sports referees, who use a whistle to indicate an illegal or foul play, also were called whistle blowers. An 1883 story in the ''Janesville Gazette'' called a policeman who used his whistle to alert citizens about a riot a ''whistle blower'', without the hyphen. By the year 1963, the phrase had become a hyphenated word, ''whistle-blower''. The word began to be used by journalists in the 1960s for people who revealed wrongdoing, such as Nader. It eventually evolved into the compound word ''whistleblower''.


Internal

Most whistleblowers are internal whistleblowers, who report misconduct on a fellow employee or superior within their company through anonymous reporting mechanisms often called hotlines. One of the most interesting questions with respect to internal whistleblowers is why and under what circumstances do people either act on the spot to stop illegal and otherwise unacceptable behavior or report it. There are some reasons to believe that people are more likely to take action with respect to unacceptable behavior, within an organization, if there are complaint systems that offer not just options dictated by the planning and control organization, but a ''choice'' of options for absolute confidentiality. Anonymous reporting mechanisms, as mentioned previously, help foster a climate whereby employees are more likely to report or seek guidance regarding potential or actual wrongdoing without fear of retaliation. The coming anti-bribery management systems standard,
ISO 37001 ISO 37001 ''Anti-bribery management systems - Requirements''  with guidance for use, is a management system standard published by International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) in 2016. As the title suggests, this standard sets out the ...
, includes anonymous reporting as one of the criteria for the new standard.


External

External whistleblowers, however, report misconduct to outside people or entities. In these cases, depending on the information's severity and nature, whistleblowers may report the misconduct to lawyers, the media,
law enforcement 'Law enforcement'' is the activity of some members of government who act in an organized manner to enforce the law by discovering, deterrence (legal), deterring, rehabilitation (penology), rehabilitating, or punishment, punishing people who viol ...
or watchdog agencies, or other local, state, or federal agencies. In some cases, external whistleblowing is encouraged by offering monetary reward.


Third party

Sometimes it is beneficial for an organization to use an external agency to create a secure and anonymous reporting channel for its employees, often referred to as a whistleblowing hotline. As well as protecting the identity of the whistleblower, these services are designed to inform the individuals at the top of the organizational pyramid of misconduct, usually via integration with specialised
case management software Law practice management software is software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, physical hardware, fr ...
. Implementing a third party solution is often the easiest way for an organization to ensure
compliance Compliance can mean: Healthcare * Compliance (medicine) In medicine, patient compliance (also adherence, capacitance) describes the degree to which a patient correctly follows medical advice. Most commonly, it refers to medication or drug compli ...
, or to offer a whistleblowing policy where one did not previously exist. An increasing number of companies and authorities use third party services in which the whistleblower is anonymous also towards the third party service provider, which is made possible via toll free phone numbers and/or web or app-based solutions which apply asymmetrical encryption.


Private sector whistleblowing

Private sector whistleblowing, though not as high profile as public sector whistleblowing, is arguably more prevalent and suppressed in society today. Simply because private corporations usually have stricter regulations that suppress potential whistleblowers. An example of private sector whistleblowing is when an employee reports to someone in a higher position such as a manager, or a third party that is isolated from the individual chapter, such as their lawyer or the police. In the private sector, corporate groups can easily hide wrongdoings by individual branches. It is not until these wrongdoings bleed into the top officials that corporate wrongdoings are seen by the public. Situations in which a person may blow the whistle are in cases of violated laws or company policy, such as sexual harassment or theft. These instances, nonetheless, are small compared to
money laundering Money laundering is the process of changing large amounts of money obtained from crimes, such as drug trafficking Uncoated tablets, consisting of about 90% acetylsalicylic acid, along with a minor amount of inert fillers and binders. Aspi ...
or fraud charges on the
stock market A stock market, equity market, or share market is the aggregation of buyers and sellers of stocks (also called shares), which represent ownership claims on businesses; these may include ''securities'' listed on a public stock exchange, as w ...

stock market
. Whistleblowing in the private sector is typically not as high-profile or openly discussed in major news outlets, though occasionally, third parties expose human rights violations and exploitation of workers. While there are organizations such as the
United States Department of Labor The United States Department of Labor (DOL) is a cabinet-level department of the U.S. federal government, responsible for occupational safety and health Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred to as occupational health ...
(DOL), and laws in place such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the
United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines The United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines are rules published by the U.S. Sentencing Commission that set out a uniform policy for sentencing The term sentence in law refers to punishment that was actually ordered or could be ordered by ...
for Organizations (FSGO) which protects whistleblowers in the private sector, many employees still fear for their jobs due to direct or indirect threats from their employers or the other parties involved. In the United States, the Department of Labor's Whistleblower Protection Program can take many types of retaliation claims based on legal actions an employee took or was perceived to take in the course of their employment. Conversely, if in the United States the retaliatory conduct occurred due to the perception of who the employee is as a person, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may be able to accept a complaint of retaliation. In an effort to overcome those fears, in 2010
Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (commonly referred to as Dodd–Frank) is a United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a co ...
was put forth to provide great incentive to whistleblowers. For example, if a whistleblower gave information which could be used to legally recover over one million dollars; then they could receive ten to thirty percent of it. Whistleblowers have risen within the technology industry as it has expanded in recent years. They are vital for publicizing ethical breaches within private companies. Protection for these specific whistleblowers falls short; they often end up unemployed or worse- in jail. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act offers an incentive for private sector whistleblowers, but only if they go to the SEC with information. If a whistleblower acts internally, as they often do in the technology industry, they are not protected by the law. Scandals, such as the
Dragonfly A dragonfly is a flying insect belonging to the order Odonata, infraorder Anisoptera (from Ancient Greek, Greek ἄνισος ''anisos'', "unequal" and πτερόν ''pteron'', "wing", because the hindwing is broader than the forewing). Adult d ...
search engine scandal and the Pompliano lawsuit against snapchat, have drawn attention to whistleblowers in technology. Despite government efforts to help regulate the private sector, the employees must still weigh their options. They either expose the company and stand the moral and ethical high ground; or expose the company, lose their job, their reputation and potentially the ability to be employed again. According to a study at the University of Pennsylvania, out of three hundred whistleblowers studied, sixty nine percent of them had foregone that exact situation; and they were either fired or were forced to retire after taking the ethical high ground. It is outcomes like that which makes it all that much harder to accurately track how prevalent whistleblowing is in the private sector.


Public sector whistleblowing

Recognizing the public value of whistleblowing has been increasing over the last 50 years. In the United States, both state and Federal statutes have been put in place to protect whistleblowers from retaliation. The
United States Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the Federal judiciary of the United States, federal judiciary of the United States of America. It has ultimate and largely Procedures of the Supreme Court of the United ...

United States Supreme Court
ruled that public sector whistleblowers are protected under
First Amendment First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record A world record is usually the best global and most important performance that is ever recorded and officially verified in a specific skill, ...
rights from any job retaliation when they raise flags over alleged corruption. Exposing misconduct or illegal or dishonest activity is a big fear for public employees because they feel they are going against their government and country. Private sector whistleblowing protection laws were in place long before ones for the public sector. After many federal whistleblowers were scrutinized in high-profile media cases, laws were finally introduced to protect government whistleblowers. These laws were enacted to help prevent corruption and encourage people to expose misconduct, illegal, or dishonest activity for the good of society. People who choose to act as whistleblowers often suffer retaliation from their employer. They most likely are fired because they are an at-will employee, which means they can be fired without a reason. There are exceptions in place for whistleblowers who are at-will employees. Even without a statute, numerous decisions encourage and protect whistleblowing on grounds of public policy. Statutes state that an employer shall not take any adverse employment actions any employee in retaliation for a good-faith report of a whistleblowing action or cooperating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit arising under said action. Federal whistleblower legislation includes a statute protecting all government employees. In the federal civil service, the government is prohibited from taking, or threatening to take, any personnel action against an employee because the employee disclosed information that they reasonably believed showed a violation of law, gross mismanagement, and gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public safety or health. To prevail on a claim, a federal employee must show that a protected disclosure was made, that the accused official knew of the disclosure, that retaliation resulted, and that there was a genuine connection between the retaliation and the employee's action.


Risk

Individual harm, public trust damage, and a threat of national security are three categories of harm that may come as a result of whistleblowing. Revealing a whistleblower's identity can automatically put their life in danger. Some media outlets associate words like "traitor" and "treason" with whistleblowers, and in many countries around the world, the punishment for treason is the death penalty, even if whoever allegedly committed treason may not have caused anyone physical harm. A primary argument in favor of the death penalty for treason is the potential endangerment of an entire people. In other words, the perpetrator is perceived as being responsible for any harm that befalls the country or its citizens as a result of their actions. In some instances, whistleblowers must flee their country to avoid public scrutiny, threats of death or physical harm, and in some cases criminal charges. In a few cases, harm is done by the whistleblower to innocent people. Whistleblowers can make unintentional mistakes, and investigations can be tainted by the fear of negative publicity. One case of this was claims made in part of the Canadian health ministry, by a new employee who thought that nearly every research contract she saw in 2012 involved malfeasance. The end result was the sudden firing of seven people, false and public threats of a criminal investigation, and the death of one researcher by suicide. The government ultimately paid the innocent victims millions of dollars for lost pay, slander, and other harms, in addition to CA $2.41 million spent on the subsequent 2015 investigation into the false charges.


Common reactions

Whistleblowers are sometimes seen as selfless
martyrs A martyr ( Greek: μάρτυς, ''mártys'', "witness"; stem μαρτυρ-, ''martyr-'') is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a religious belief or cause as demand ...
for public interest and organizational
accountability Accountability, in terms of ethics and governance, is equated with answerability, blameworthiness, legal liability, liability, and the expectation of account-giving. As in an aspect of governance, it has been central to discussions related to probl ...

accountability
; others view them as "traitors" or "defectors". Some even accuse them of solely pursuing personal glory and fame, or view their behavior as motivated by greed in
qui tam In common law, a writ of ''qui tam'' is a writ through which private citizen, private individuals who assist a prosecution can receive for themselves all or part of the damages or financial penalties recovered by the government as a result of the pr ...
cases. Some academics (such as Thomas Faunce) feel that whistleblowers should at least be entitled to a rebuttable presumption that they are attempting to apply ethical principles in the face of obstacles and that whistleblowing would be more respected in
governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity ...

governance
systems if it had a firmer academic basis in
virtue ethics Virtue ethics (also aretaic ethics, from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. ...
. It is probable that many people do not even consider blowing the whistle, not only because of fear of retaliation, but also because of fear of losing their relationships at work and outside work. Persecution of whistleblowers has become a serious issue in many parts of the world:
Employees in academia, business or government might become aware of serious risks to health and the environment, but internal policies might pose threats of retaliation to those who report these early warnings. Private company employees in particular might be at risk of being fired, demoted, denied raises and so on for bringing environmental risks to the attention of appropriate authorities. Government employees could be at a similar risk for bringing threats to health or the environment to public attention, although perhaps this is less likely.
There are examples of "early warning scientists" being harassed for bringing inconvenient truths about impending harm to the notice of the public and authorities. There have also been cases of young scientists being discouraged from entering controversial scientific fields for fear of
harassment Harassment covers a wide range of behavior Behavior (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native t ...

harassment
. Whistleblowers are often protected under law from employer retaliation, but in many cases punishment has occurred, such as
termination Termination may refer to: Science *Termination (geomorphology), the period of time of relatively rapid change from cold, glacial conditions to warm interglacial condition *Termination factor, in genetics, part of the process of transcribing RNA ...
,
suspension Suspension or suspended may refer to: Science and engineering * Suspension (topology), in mathematics * Suspension (dynamical systems), in mathematics * Suspension of a ring, in mathematics * Suspension (chemistry), small solid particles suspende ...
,
demotion A demotion is a compulsory reduction in an employee Employment is a relationship between two party (law), parties, usually based on employment contract, contract where work is paid for, where one party, which may be a corporation, for profit, no ...
, wage garnishment, and/or harsh
mistreatment Abuse is the improper usage or treatment of a thing, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. Abuse can come in many forms, such as: physical or verbal maltreatment, injury, assault An assault is the act of inflicting physical harm ...
by other employees. A 2009 study found that up to 38% of whistleblowers experienced professional retaliation in some form, including wrongful termination. For example, in the United States, most whistleblower protection laws provide for limited "make whole" remedies or damages for employment losses if whistleblower retaliation is proven. However, many whistleblowers report there exists a widespread " shoot the messenger" mentality by corporations or government agencies accused of misconduct and in some cases whistleblowers have been subjected to criminal prosecution in reprisal for reporting wrongdoing. As a reaction to this many private organizations have formed whistleblower
legal defense fundIn the United States, a legal defense fund (or LDF) is an account set up to pay for legal expenses, which can include attorneys' fees, court filings, litigation costs, legal advice, or other legal fees. The fund can be public or private and is set ...
s or support groups to assist whistleblowers; three such examples are the ''National Whistleblowers Center'' in the United States, and ''Whistleblowers UK'' and ''
Public Concern at Work Public Concern at Work (PCaW) is a whistleblowing charity. Established in 1993, Public Concern at Work advises individuals with whistleblowing dilemmas at work, supports organisations with their whistleblowing arrangements and informs public poli ...
(PCaW)'' in the United Kingdom. Depending on the circumstances, it is not uncommon for whistleblowers to be ostracized by their co-workers, discriminated against by future potential employers, or even fired from their organization. This campaign directed at whistleblowers with the goal of eliminating them from the organization is referred to as
mobbing Mobbing, as a sociological term, means bullying of an individual by a group, in any context, such as a family, peer group, school, workplace, neighborhood, community, or online. When it occurs as physical and emotional abuse in the workplace, such ...
. It is an extreme form of
workplace bullying Workplace bullying is a persistent pattern of mistreatment from others in the workplace that causes either physical or emotional harm. It can include such tactics as verbal Verbal may refer to: People *Verbal (rapper) Verbal (born August 21, 1 ...
wherein the group is set against the targeted individual.


Psychological impact

There is limited research on the psychological impacts of whistle blowing. However, poor experiences of whistleblowing can cause a prolonged and prominent assault upon staff well being. As workers attempt to address concerns, they are often met with a wall of silence and hostility by management. Some whistleblowers speak of overwhelming and persistent distress, drug and alcohol problems,
paranoid Paranoia is an instinct or thought process which is believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear Fear is an emotion induced by perceived danger or threat, which causes physiological changes and ultimately behavioral changes, such as ...

paranoid
behaviour at work, acute
anxiety Anxiety is an emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioural responses, and a degree of pleasure or suffering, disp ...
,
nightmares A nightmare, also called a bad dream, Retrieved 11 July 2016. is an unpleasant dream that can cause a strong emotional response from the mind, typically fear Fear is an emotion induced by perceived danger or threat, which causes physiologi ...

nightmares
, flashbacks and
intrusive thoughts An intrusive thought is an unwelcome, involuntary thought, image, or unpleasant idea that may become an obsession, is upsetting or distressing, and can feel difficult to manage or eliminate. The thought may be spontaneous and repetitive. When such ...
. Depression is often reported by whistleblowers, and
suicidal thoughts Suicidal ideation (or suicidal thoughts) is thinking about, considering, or planning suicide Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death (1906) Death is the permanent, Irreversible process, irreversible cessation of al ...
may occur in up to about 10%. General deterioration in health and self care has been described. The range of symptomatology shares many of the features of
posttraumatic stress disorder Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental Mental may refer to: * of or relating to the mind Films * Mental (2012 film), ''Mental'' (2012 film), an Australian comedy-drama * Mental (2016 film), ''Mental'' (2016 film), a Bangladeshi r ...
, though there is debate about whether the trauma experienced by whistleblowers meets diagnostic thresholds. Increased stress related physical illness has also been described in whistleblowers. The stresses involved in whistleblowing can be huge. As such, workers remain afraid to blow the whistle, in fear that they will not be believed or they have lost faith in believing that anything will happen if they do speak out. This fear may indeed be justified, because an individual who feels threatened by whistleblowing, may plan the career destruction of the 'complainant' by reporting fictitious errors or rumours. This technique, labelled as "
gaslighting Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment. It may evoke changes in them such as c ...
", is a common, unconventional approach used by organizations to manage employees who cause difficulty by raising concerns. In extreme cases, this technique involves the organization or manager proposing that the complainant's mental health is unstable.Lennane J (May 2012
What Happens to Whistleblowers and Why
Classics in Social Medicine Vol6 No4 P249-258
Organizations also often attempt to
ostracise Ostracism ( el, ὀστρακισμός, ''ostrakismos'') was a procedure under Athenian democracy The relief representation depicts the personified Demos being crowned by Democracy. About 336 BC. Ancient Agora Museum. Athenian democracy deve ...
and isolate whistleblowers by undermining their concerns by suggesting that these are groundless, carrying out inadequate investigations or by ignoring them altogether. Whistleblowers may also be disciplined, suspended and reported to professional bodies upon manufactured pretexts.Bousfield A (9 December 2011
21 Ways To Skin An NHS Whistleblower
Medical Harm
Patients First (23 Oct 2013
The Life Cycle of the Whistleblower
Where whistleblowers persist in raising their concerns, they increasingly risk detriments such as dismissal. Following dismissal, whistleblowers may struggle to find further employment due to damaged reputations, poor references and
blacklisting Blacklisting is the action of a group or authority, compiling a blacklist (or black list) of people, countries or other entities to be avoided or distrusted as being deemed unacceptable to those making the list. If someone is on a blacklist, ...
. The social impact of whistleblowing through loss of livelihood (and sometimes pension), and family strain may also impact on whistleblowers' psychological well being. Whistleblowers may also experience immense stress as a result of litigation regarding detriments such as unfair dismissal, which they often face with imperfect support or no support at all from unions. Whistleblowers who continue to pursue their concerns may also face long battles with official bodies such as regulators and government departments. Such bodies may reproduce the "institutional silence" by employers, adding to whistleblowers' stress and difficulties.Public Accounts Committee Report of Inquiry into Whistleblowing, Ninth Report of Session 2014–15
In all, some whistleblowers suffer great injustice, that may never be acknowledged or rectified. Such extreme experiences of threat and loss inevitably cause severe distress and sometimes mental illness, sometimes lasting for years afterwards. This mistreatment also deters others from coming forward with concerns. Thus, poor practices remain hidden behind a wall of silence, and prevent any organization from experiencing the improvements that may be afforded by intelligent failure. Some whistleblowers who part ranks with their organizations have had their mental stability questioned, such as Adrian Schoolcraft, the
NYPD The New York City Police Department (NYPD), officially the City of New York Police Department, is the primary law enforcement File:CBP female officers going aboard a ship.jpg, upU.S. Customs and Border Protection officers boarding a ship ' ...
veteran who alleged falsified crime statistics in his department and was forcibly committed to a mental institution. Conversely, the emotional strain of a whistleblower investigation is devastating to the accused's family.


Ethics

The definition of ethics is the moral
principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified ...

principles
that govern a person's or group's behavior. The ethical implications of whistleblowing can be negative as well as positive. Some have argued that public sector whistleblowing plays an important role in the democratic process by resolving principle agent problems. However, sometimes employees may blow the whistle as an act of revenge. Rosemary O'Leary explains this in her short volume on a topic called government. "Rather than acting openly, guerrillas often choose to remain "in the closet", moving clandestinely behind the scenes, salmon swimming upstream against the current of power. Over the years, I have learned that the motivations driving guerrillas are diverse. The reasons for acting range from the
altruistic Altruism is the principle A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a s ...
(doing the right thing) to the seemingly petty (I was passed over for that promotion). Taken as a whole, their acts are as awe inspiring as saving human lives out of a love of humanity and as trifling as slowing the issuance of a report out of spite or anger." For example, of the more than 1,000 whistleblower complaints that are filed each year with the Pentagon's Inspector General, about 97 percent are not substantiated. It is believed throughout the professional world that an individual is bound to secrecy within their work sector. Discussions of whistleblowing and employee loyalty usually assume that the concept of loyalty is irrelevant to the issue or, more commonly, that whistleblowing involves a moral choice that pits the loyalty that an employee owes an employer against the employee's responsibility to serve the public interest. Robert A. Larmer describes the standard view of whistleblowing in the
Journal of Business Ethics The ''Journal of Business Ethics'' is a peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members o ...
by explaining that an employee possesses prima facie (based on the first impression; accepted as correct until proved otherwise) duties of loyalty and confidentiality to their employers and that whistleblowing cannot be justified except on the basis of a higher duty to the public good. It is important to recognize that in any relationship which demands loyalty the relationship works both ways and involves mutual enrichment. The ethics of Edward Snowden's actions have been widely discussed and debated in news media and academia worldwide. Edward Snowden released classified intelligence to the American people in an attempt to allow Americans to see the inner workings of the government. A person is diligently tasked with the
conundrum Conundrum may refer to: * A riddle, whose answer is or involves a pun or unexpected twist, in particular ** Riddle joke, a riddle that constitutes a set-up to the humorous punch line of a joke * A logical postulation that evades resolution, an int ...
of choosing to be loyal to the company or to blow the whistle on the company's wrongdoing. Discussions on whistleblowing generally revolve around three topics: attempts to define whistleblowing more precisely, debates about whether and when whistleblowing is permissible, and debates about whether and when one has an obligation to blow the whistle.


Motivations

Many whistleblowers have stated that they were motivated to take action to put an end to unethical practices, after witnessing injustices in their businesses or organizations. A 2009 study found that whistleblowers are often motivated to take action when they notice a sharp decline in ethical practices, as opposed to a gradual worsening. There are generally two metrics by which whistleblowers determine if a practice is unethical. The first metric involves a violation of the organization's bylaws or written ethical policies. These violations allow individuals to concretize and rationalize blowing the whistle. On the other hand, "value-driven" whistleblowers are influenced by their personal codes of ethics. In these cases, whistleblowers have been criticized for being driven by personal biases. In addition to ethics, social and organizational pressure are a motivating forces. A 2012 study identified that individuals are more likely to blow the whistle when several others know about the wrongdoing, because they would otherwise fear consequences for keeping silent. In cases when one person is causing an injustice, the individual who notices the injustice may file a formal report, rather than confronting the wrongdoer, because confrontation would be more emotionally and psychologically stressful. Furthermore, individuals may be motivated to report unethical behavior when they believe their organizations will support them. Professionals in management roles may feel responsibility to blow the whistle to uphold the values and rules of their organizations.


Legal protection for whistleblowers

Legal protection for whistleblowers varies from country to country and may depend on the country of the original activity, where and how secrets were revealed, and how they eventually became published or publicized. Over a dozen countries have now adopted comprehensive whistleblower protection laws that create mechanisms for reporting wrongdoing and provide legal protections to whistleblowers. Over 50 countries have adopted more limited protections as part of their anti-corruption, freedom of information, or employment laws. ''For purposes of the English Wikipedia, this section emphasizes the English-speaking world and covers other regimes only insofar as they represent exceptionally greater or lesser protections.''


Australia

There are laws in a number of states. The former NSW Police Commissioner Tony Lauer summed up official government and police attitudes as: "Nobody in Australia much likes whistleblowers, particularly in an organization like the police or the government." The former Australian intelligence officer known as ''Witness K'', who provided evidence of Australia's controversial spying operation against the government of
East Timor East Timor () or Timor-Leste (; tet, Timór Lorosa'e), officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste ( pt, República Democrática de Timor-Leste, tet, Repúblika Demokrátika Timór-Leste), is an island country An island country o ...

East Timor
in 2004, face the possibility of jail if convicted. Whistleblowers Australia is an association for those who have exposed corruption or any form of malpractice, especially if they were then hindered or abused.


Canada

The Public Sector Integrity Commissioner (PSIC) provides a safe and confidential mechanism enabling public servants and the general public to disclose wrongdoings committed in the public sector. It also protects from reprisal public servants who have disclosed wrongdoing and those who have cooperated in investigations. The office's goal is to enhance public confidence in Canada's federal public institutions and in the integrity of public servants. Mandated by the ''Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act'', PSIC is a permanent and independent agent of
Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...

Parliament
. The act, which came into force in 2007, applies to most of the federal public sector, approximately 400,000
public servants The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leadersh ...
. This includes government departments and agencies, parent Crown corporations, the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP; french: Gendarmerie royale du Canada; french: GRC, label=none), often known as the Mounties, are the federal and national police service of Canada, providing law enforcement at the federal level. The ...

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
and other federal public sector bodies. Not all disclosures lead to an investigation as the act sets out the jurisdiction of the commissioner and gives the option not to investigate under certain circumstances. On the other hand, if PSIC conducts an investigation and finds no wrongdoing was committed, the commissioner must report his findings to the discloser and to the organization's chief executive. Also, reports of founded wrongdoing are presented before the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorpor ...
and the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...

Senate
in accordance with the act. The act also established the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal (PSDPT) to protect public servants by hearing reprisal complaints referred by the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. The tribunal can grant remedies in favour of complainants and order disciplinary action against persons who take reprisals.


European Union

The
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legi ...

European Parliament
approved a "Whistleblower Protection Directive" containing broad
free speech Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philoso ...

free speech
protections for whistleblowers in both the
public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth Engli ...
and the
private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two decades from the charts. Both "In Pri ...
sectors, including for journalists, in all
member states of the European Union The European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of that are located primarily in . The union has a total area of and an estimated total population of about 447million. has been established through a sta ...
. The Directive prohibits direct or indirect retaliation against employees, current and former, in the public sector and the private sector. The Directive's protections apply to employees, to volunteers, and to those who assist them, including to
civil society Civil society can be understood as the "third sector" of society, distinct from government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment ...
organizations and to journalists who report on their evidence. It provides equal rights for whistleblowers in the
national security National security or national defence is the security Security is freedom from, or resilience against, potential Potential generally refers to a currently unrealized ability. The term is used in a wide variety of fields, from physics ...
sector who challenge denial or removal of their
security clearance A security clearance is a status granted to individuals allowing them access to classified information Classified Information is material that a government body deems to be sensitive information Information sensitivity is the control of ac ...
s. Also, whistleblowers are protected from
criminal prosecution A prosecutor is a legal representative of the prosecution in states with either the common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial ...
and corporate lawsuits for damages resulting from their whistleblowing, and provides for psychological support for dealing with harassment stress.
Government Accountability Project The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a nonprofit whistleblower protection and advocacy organization in the United States. It was founded in 1977. Activities In 1992, GAP represented Aldric Saucier, who had lost his job and security clea ...
, 21 November 2018,
European Parliament Panel Approves Whistleblower Protections for all EU Countries
Good government Good government is a normative description of how government is supposed to be constituted. It has been frequently employed by various political thinkers, ideologues and politicians. Thomas Jefferson and good government Thomas Jefferson often re ...
observers have hailed the EU directive as setting "the global standard for
best practice A best practice is a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things, e.g., a ...
rights protecting freedom of speech where it counts the most—challenging abuses of power that betray the
public trust The Public Trust of New Zealand was a government-appointed corporation sole A corporation sole is a Legal person, legal entity consisting of a single ("sole") incorporated office, occupied by a single ("sole") natural person.Government Accountability Project The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a nonprofit whistleblower protection and advocacy organization in the United States. It was founded in 1977. Activities In 1992, GAP represented Aldric Saucier, who had lost his job and security clea ...
. They have noted, however, that ambiguities remain in the Directive regarding application in some areas, such as "duty speech," that is, when employees report the same information in the course of a job assignment, for example, to a supervisor, instead of whistleblowing as formal
dissent Sticker art arguing that dissent is necessary for democracy.">democracy.html" ;"title="Sticker art arguing that dissent is necessary for democracy">Sticker art arguing that dissent is necessary for democracy. Dissent is an opinion, philosophy or ...

dissent
. In fact, duty speech is how the overwhelming majority of whistleblowing information gets communicated, and where the free flow of information is needed for proper functioning of organizations. However it is in response to such "duty speech" employee communication that the vast majority of retaliation against employees occurs. These observers have noted that the Directive must be understood as applying to protection against retaliation for such duty speech because without such an understanding the Directive will "miss the iceberg of what's needed".


Jamaica

In
Jamaica Jamaica (; ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or ...

Jamaica
, the Protected Disclosures Act, 2011 received assent in March 2011. It creates a comprehensive system for the protection of whistleblowers in the public and private sector. It is based on the
Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (c.23) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United ...
.


India

The
Government of India The Government of India (ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requiremen ...
had been considering adopting a whistleblower protection law for several years. In 2003, the Law Commission of India recommended the adoption of the Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Informers) Act, 2002. In August 2010, the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Persons Making the Disclosures Bill, 2010 was introduced into the
Lok Sabha The Lok Sabha, constitutionally A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human ...

Lok Sabha
, lower house of the
Parliament of India The Parliament of India (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scien ...
. The Bill was approved by the cabinet in June 2011. The Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Persons Making the Disclosures Bill, 2010 was renamed as The Whistleblowers' Protection Bill, 2011 by the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice. The Whistleblowers' Protection Bill, 2011 was passed by the Lok Sabha on 28 December 2011. and by the Rajyasabha on 21 February 2014. The Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011 has received the Presidential assent on 9 May 2014 and the same has been subsequently published in the official gazette of the Government of India on 9 May 2014 by the Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India.


Ireland

The government of Ireland committed to adopting a comprehensive whistleblower protection law in January 2012. The Protected Disclosures Act (PDA) was passed in 2014. The law covers workers in the public and private sectors, and also includes contractors, trainees, agency staff, former employees and job seekers. A range of different types of misconduct may be reported under the law, which provides protections for workers from a range of employment actions as well as whistleblowers' identity.


Netherlands

The Netherlands has measures in place to mitigate the risks of whistleblowing: the House for Whistleblowers (Huis voor klokkenluiders) offers advice and support to whistleblowers, and the Parliament passed a proposal in 2016 to establish this house for whistleblowers, to protect them from the severe negative consequences that they might endure (Kamerstuk, 2013). Dutch media organizations also provide whistleblower support; on 9September 2013 a number of major Dutch media outlets supported the launch of Publeaks, which provides a secure website for people to leak documents to the media. Publeaks is designed to protect whistleblowers. It operates on the
GlobaLeaks GlobaLeaks is an open-source, free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that tell a computer how to work. Th ...

GlobaLeaks
software developed by the Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights, which supports whistleblower-oriented technologies internationally.


Switzerland

The Swiss Council of States agreed on a draft amendment of the
Swiss Code of Obligations Swiss may refer to: * the adjectival form of Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial ...
in September 2014. The draft introduces articles 321abis to 321asepties, 328(3), 336(2)(d). An amendment of article 362(1) adds articles 321abis to 321asepties to the list of provisions that may not be overruled by labour and bargaining agreements.
Article 321ater introduces an obligation on employees to report irregularities to their employer before reporting to an authority. An employee will, however, not breach his duty of good faith if he reports an irregularity to an authority and * a period set by the employer and no longer than 60 days has lapsed since the employee has reported the incident to his employer, and * the employer has not addressed the irregularity or it is obvious that the employer has insufficiently addressed the irregularity. Article 321aquarter provides that an employee may exceptionally directly report to an authority. Exceptions apply in cases * where the employee is in a position to objectively demonstrate that a report to his employer will prove ineffective, * where the employee has to anticipate dismissal, * where the employee must assume that the competent authority will be hindered in investigating the irregularity, or * where there is a direct and serious hazard to life, to health, to safety, or to the environment. The draft does not improve on protection against dismissal for employees who report irregularities to their employer. The amendment does not provide for employees anonymously filing their observations of irregularities.


United Kingdom

Whistleblowing in the United Kingdom is protected by the
Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (c.23) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United ...
(PIDA). Amongst other things, under the Act protected disclosures are permitted even if a
non-disclosure agreement #REDIRECT Non-disclosure agreement#REDIRECT Non-disclosure agreement A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement (CA), confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA) or secrecy agre ...
has been signed between the employer and the former or current employee; a consultation on further restricting confidentiality clauses was held in 2019. The Freedom to Speak Up Review set out 20 principles to bring about improvements to help whistleblowers in the
NHS The National Health Service (NHS) is the umbrella term for the publicly funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom (UK). Since 1948, they have been funded out of general taxation. There are three systems which are referred to using the " ...
, including: * Culture of raising concerns – to make raising issues a part of normal routine business of a well-led NHS organization. * Culture free from bullying – freedom of staff to speak out relies on staff being able to work in a culture which is free from bullying. * Training – every member of staff should receive training in their trust's approach to raising concerns and in receiving and acting on them. * Support – all NHS trusts should ensure there is a dedicated person to whom concerns can be easily reported and without formality, a "speak up guardian" . * Support to find alternative employment in the NHS – where a worker who has raised a concern cannot, as a result, continue their role, the NHS should help them seek an alternative job.
Monitor Monitor or monitor may refer to: Places * Monitor, Alberta * Monitor, Indiana, town in the United States * Monitor, Kentucky * Monitor, Oregon, unincorporated community in the United States * Monitor, Washington * Monitor, Logan County, West Virg ...
produced a whistleblowing policy in November 2015 that all NHS organizations in England are obliged to follow. It explicitly says that anyone bullying or acting against a whistleblower could be potentially liable to disciplinary action.


United States

Whistleblowing tradition in what would soon become the United States had a start in 1773 with
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American revolutionary Patriots (also ...

Benjamin Franklin
leaking a few letters in the Hutchinson affair. The release of the communications from royal governor Thomas Hutchinson to
Thomas Whately Thomas Whately (1726 – 26 May 1772), an English politician and writer, was a Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency. In many countries with Bicameralism, bicameral ...
led to a firing, a duel and arguably, both through the many general impacts of the leak and its role in convincing Franklin to join the radicals' cause, the taking of another important final step toward the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
. The first act of the
Continental Congress The Continental Congress was a series of legislative bodies A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is ...
in favor of what later came to be called whistleblowing came in the 1777-8 case of
Samuel Shaw Samuel Shaw may refer to: Sports *Dexter Lumis (born 1984), American professional wrestler also known as Samuel Shaw *Samuel Shaw (bowls player) from Lawn bowls at the 1996 Summer Paralympics *Samuel Shaw (tennis), played in 1883 U.S. National Cham ...
and Richard Marven. The two seamen accused Commander in Chief of the
Continental Navy The Continental Navy was the navy of the United States during the American Revolutionary War, and was formed in 1775. The fleet cumulatively became relatively substantial through the efforts of the Continental Navy's patron John Adams and vigor ...
Esek Hopkins Commodore Esek Hopkins (April 26, 1718February 26, 1802) was an American naval officer and slave trader. Hopkins was the only Commander in Chief of the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War ...

Esek Hopkins
of torturing British prisoners of war. The Congress dismissed Hopkins and then agreed to cover the defense cost of the pair after Hopkins filed a libel suit against them under which they were imprisoned. Shaw and Marven were subsequently cleared in a jury trial. To be considered a whistleblower in the United States, most federal whistleblower statutes require that
federal employee The United States federal civil service is the civilian Civilians under international humanitarian law are "persons who are not members of the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly or ...
s have reason to believe their employer violated some law, rule, or regulation; testify or commence a legal proceeding on the legally protected matter; or refuse to violate the law. In cases where whistleblowing on a specified topic is protected by statute, U.S. courts have generally held that such whistleblowers are protected from retaliation. However, a closely divided
U.S. Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a coun ...

U.S. Supreme Court
decision, ''
Garcetti v. Ceballos ''Garcetti v. Ceballos'', 547 U.S. 410 (2006), is a U.S. Supreme Court decision involving First Amendment First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number 1 (number), one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record, specifically the first in ...
'' (2006) held that the
First Amendment First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record A world record is usually the best global and most important performance that is ever recorded and officially verified in a specific skill, ...
free speech Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philoso ...

free speech
guarantees for government employees do not protect disclosures made within the scope of the employees' duties. In the United States, legal protections vary according to the subject matter of the whistleblowing, and sometimes the state where the case arises. In passing the 2002
Sarbanes–Oxley Act The Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 is a that mandates certain practices in financial record keeping and reporting for corporations. The act, (), also known as the "Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act" (in the ) and "Co ...
, the Senate Judiciary Committee found that whistleblower protections were dependent on the "patchwork and vagaries" of varying state statutes. Still, a wide variety of federal and state laws protect employees who call attention to violations, help with enforcement proceedings, or refuse to obey unlawful directions. While this patchwork approach has often been criticized, it is also responsible for the United States having more dedicated whistleblowing laws than any other country. The first US law adopted specifically to protect whistleblowers was the 1863 United States
False Claims Act The False Claims Act (FCA), also called the "Lincoln Law", is an American federal law Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is formed when a group of political units, such as state (su ...
(revised in 1986), which tried to combat fraud by suppliers of the United States government during the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by other names Other most often refers to: * Other (philosophy), a concept in psychology and philosophy Other or The Other may also refer to: Books * The Other (Tryon novel), ''The Other'' (Tryon nove ...
. The Act encourages whistleblowers by promising them a percentage of the money recovered by the government and by protecting them from employment retaliation. Another US law that specifically protects whistleblowers is the
Lloyd–La Follette ActThe Lloyd–La Follette Act of 1912 began the process of protecting civil servants in the United States from unwarranted or abusive removal by codifying "just cause" standards previously embodied in presidential orders. It defines "just causes" as t ...
of 1912. It guaranteed the right of federal employees to furnish information to the
United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicameralism, bicameral, comprising a lower body, the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives, and an upper body, t ...

United States Congress
. The first US environmental law to include an employee protection was the
Clean Water Act The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the primary federal law Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is formed when a group of political units, such as state (subnational), states or province ...
of 1972. Similar protections were included in subsequent federal environmental laws, including the
Safe Drinking Water Act The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the principal United States federal law, federal law in the United States intended to ensure safe drinking water for the public. Pursuant to the act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Environme ...
(1974),
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), enacted in 1976, is the principal federal law in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous ...
(1976),
Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA or TOSCA) is a United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America ...
,
Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 The Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (, codified at 42 U.S.C.A. § 5801) is a United States federal law The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law, of which the most important is the United States Co ...
(through 1978 amendment to protect nuclear whistleblowers), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, or the Superfund Law) (1980), and the Clean Air Act (1990). Similar employee protections enforced through OSHA are included in the
Surface Transportation Assistance Act The Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 was a comprehensive transportation funding and policy act of the United States Federal Government, . The legislation was championed by the Reagan administration to address concerns about the surfac ...
(1982) to protect truck drivers, the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act (PSIA) of 2002, the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century ("AIR 21"), and the
Sarbanes–Oxley Act The Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 is a that mandates certain practices in financial record keeping and reporting for corporations. The act, (), also known as the "Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act" (in the ) and "Co ...
, enacted on 30 July 2002 (for corporate fraud whistleblowers). More recent laws with some whistleblower protection include the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("ACA", the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act ("CPSIA"), the Seamans Protection Act as amended by the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 ("SPA"), the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Consumer Financial Protection Act ("CFPA"), the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act ("FSMA"), the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act ("MAP-21"), and the Taxpayer First Act ("TFA"). Investigation of retaliation against whistleblowers under 23 federal statutes falls under the jurisdiction of Directorate of Whistleblower Protection Program of the
United States Department of Labor The United States Department of Labor (DOL) is a cabinet-level department of the U.S. federal government, responsible for occupational safety and health Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred to as occupational health ...
's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). New whistleblower statutes enacted by Congress, which are to be enforced by the Secretary of Labor, are generally delegated by a Secretary's Order to OSHA's Directorate of Whistleblower Protection Program (DWPP). The patchwork of laws means that victims of retaliation need to be aware of the laws at issue to determine the deadlines and means for making proper complaints. Some deadlines are as short as 10 days (Arizona State Employees have 10 days to file a "Prohibited Personnel Practice" Complaint before the Arizona State Personnel Board), while others are up to 300 days. Those who report a false claim against the federal government, and suffer adverse employment actions as a result, may have up to six years (depending on state law) to file a civil suit for remedies under the US
False Claims Act The False Claims Act (FCA), also called the "Lincoln Law", is an American federal law Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is formed when a group of political units, such as state (su ...
(FCA). Under a ''
qui tam In common law, a writ of ''qui tam'' is a writ through which private citizen, private individuals who assist a prosecution can receive for themselves all or part of the damages or financial penalties recovered by the government as a result of the pr ...
'' provision, the "original source" for the report may be entitled to a percentage of what the government recovers from the offenders. However, the "original source" must also be the first to file a federal civil complaint for recovery of the federal funds fraudulently obtained, and must avoid publicizing the claim of fraud until the United States Department of Justice, US Justice Department decides whether to prosecute the claim itself. Such ''qui tam'' lawsuits must be filed under seal, using special procedures to keep the claim from becoming public until the federal government makes its decision on direct prosecution. Espionage Act of 1917, The Espionage Act of 1917 has been used to prosecute whistleblowers in the United States including Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. In 2013, Manning was convicted of violating the Espionage Act and sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking sensitive military documents to WikiLeaks. The same year, Snowden was charged with violating the Espionage Act for releasing confidential documents belonging to the National Security Agency, NSA. Section 922 of the
Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (commonly referred to as Dodd–Frank) is a United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a co ...
(Dodd-Frank) in the United States incentivizes and protects whistleblowers. By Dodd-Frank, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) financially rewards whistleblowers for providing original information about violations of federal securities laws that results in sanctions of at least $1M."Dodd-Frank Act Rulemaking: Whistleblower Program". www.sec.gov. Retrieved 26 October 2016. Additionally, Dodd-Frank offers job security to whistleblowers by illegalizing termination or discrimination due to whistleblowing. The whistleblower provision has proven successful; after the enactment of Dodd-Frank, the SEC charged KBR (company) and BlueLinx Holdings Inc. (company) with violating the whistleblower protection Rule 21F-17 by having employees sign confidentiality agreements that threatened repercussions for discussing internal matters with outside parties. As of his election, President Donald Trump has announced plans to dismantle Dodd-Frank, which may negatively impact whistleblower protection in the United States. The federally recognized National Whistleblower Appreciation Day is observed annually on 30 July, on the anniversary of the country's original 1778 whistleblower protection law.


Other countries

There are comprehensive laws in New Zealand and South Africa. A number of other countries have recently adopted comprehensive whistleblower laws including Ghana, South Korea, and Uganda. They are also being considered in Kenya and Rwanda. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2008 that whistleblowing was protected as freedom of expression. Nigeria has progressed into formulating the Whistle-blowing policy in Nigeria, Whistleblowing Policy in 2016. However, this has not yet been established as law. The Whistle-blower Protection bill is still pending at the National Assembly. In February 2017, Nigeria also set up a whistleblowing policy against corruption and other ills in the country.


Advocacy for whistleblower rights and protections

Many NGOs advocate for stronger and more comprehensive legal rights and protections for whistleblowers. Among them are the
Government Accountability Project The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a nonprofit whistleblower protection and advocacy organization in the United States. It was founded in 1977. Activities In 1992, GAP represented Aldric Saucier, who had lost his job and security clea ...
(GAP), Blueprint for Free Speech,
Public Concern at Work Public Concern at Work (PCaW) is a whistleblowing charity. Established in 1993, Public Concern at Work advises individuals with whistleblowing dilemmas at work, supports organisations with their whistleblowing arrangements and informs public poli ...
(PCaW) and the Open Democracy Advice Centre


Modern methods used for whistleblower protection

Whistleblowers who may be at risk from those they are exposing are now using encryption methods and anonymous content sharing software to protect their identity. Tor (network), Tor, a highly accessible anonymity network, is one that is frequently used by whistleblowers around the world. Tor has undergone a number of large security updates to protect the identities of potential whistleblowers who may wish to anonymously leak information. Recently specialized whistleblowing software like SecureDrop and
GlobaLeaks GlobaLeaks is an open-source, free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that tell a computer how to work. Th ...

GlobaLeaks
has been built on top of the Tor technology to incentivize and simplify its adoption for secure whistleblowing.


Whistleblowing hotline

In business, whistleblowing hotlines are usually deployed as a way of mitigating risk, with the intention of providing secure, anonymous reporting for employees or third party suppliers who may otherwise be fearful of reprisals from their employer. As such, implementing a corporate whistleblowing hotline is often seen as a step towards compliance, and can also highlight an organization's stance on ethics. It is widely agreed that implementing a dedicated service for whistleblowers has a positive effect on an organizational culture. A whistleblowing hotline is sometimes also referred to as an ''ethics hotline'' or '''Speak Up' hotline'' and is often facilitated by an Outsourcing, outsourced service provider to encourage potential disclosers to come forward. Navex Global and Expolink are examples of global third party whistleblower services. In 2018, the ''Harvard Business Review'' published findings to support the idea that whistleblowing hotlines are crucial to keeping companies healthy, stating "More whistles blown are a sign of health, not illness."


In popular culture

One of the subplots for season6 of the popular American TV show ''The Office'' focused on Andy Bernard, a salesman, discovering the printers of his company catch on fire, struggling with how to deal with the news, and the company's response to the whistleblower going public. The 1998 film ''Star Trek: Insurrection'' involved Jean-Luc Picard, Picard and the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-E), NCC-1701-E ''Enterprise'' crew risking their Starfleet careers to blow the whistle on a United Federation of Planets, Federation conspiracy with the Son’a to forcibly relocate the Ba’ku from their planet. In 2014, the rock/industrial band Laibach on its eighth studio album ''Spectre (Laibach album), Spectre'' released a song titled "The Whistleblowers" . It was released on 3 March 2014 under Mute Records. In 2016, the rock band Thrice released a song titled "Whistleblower" off of the album ''To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere''. The song is written from the perspective of Snowden. In July 2018, CBS debuted a new reality television show entitled ''Whistleblower (U.S. TV program), Whistleblower'', hosted by lawyer, former judge and police officer Alex Ferrer which covers ''
qui tam In common law, a writ of ''qui tam'' is a writ through which private citizen, private individuals who assist a prosecution can receive for themselves all or part of the damages or financial penalties recovered by the government as a result of the pr ...
'' suits under the
False Claims Act The False Claims Act (FCA), also called the "Lincoln Law", is an American federal law Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is formed when a group of political units, such as state (su ...
against companies that have allegedly defrauded the federal government.


See also


Notes and references


Bibliography

* * Arnold, Jason Ross (2019).
Whistleblowers, Leakers, and Their Networks: From Snowden to Samizdat
'. Rowman & Littlefield. *Banisar, David "Whistleblowing: International Standards and Developments", in ''Corruption and Transparency: Debating the Frontiers between State, Market and Society'', I. Sandoval, ed., World Bank-Institute for Social Research, UNAM, Washington, D.C., 2011 available online a
ssrn.com
*Quentin Dempster, Dempster, Quentin Dempster, Quentin ''Whistleblowers'', Sydney, ABC Books, 1997. [See especially pp. 199–212: 'The Courage of the Whistleblowers'] *Frais, A "Whistleblowing heroes – boon or burden?", ''Bulletin of Medical Ethics'', 2001 Aug:(170):13–19. *Garrett, Allison, "Auditor Whistle Blowing: The Financial Fraud Detection and Disclosure Act," 17 Seton Hall ''Legis. J.'' 91 (1993). * * * * * * * * * * Lauretano, Major Daniel A., "The Military Whistleblower Protection Act and the Military Mental Health Protection Act", ''Army Law'', (Oct) 1998. * Lechner, Jay P. & Paul M. Sisco
"Sarbanes-Oxley Criminal Whistleblower Provisions & the Workplace: More Than Just Securities Fraud"
80 Florida B. J. 85 (June 2006) * *Brian Martin (social scientist), Martin, Brian
''Justice Ignited: The Dynamics of Backfire''
(Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007). * Martin, Brian with Wendy Varney

(Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2003). * Martin, Brian
''Technology for Nonviolent Struggle''
(London: War Resisters' International, 2001). * Martin, Brian with Lyn Carson
''Random Selection in Politics''
(Westport, CT: Praeger, 1999). * Martin, Brian. ''The Whistleblower's Handbook: How to Be an Effective Resister'', (Charlbury, UK: Jon Carpenter; Sydney: Envirobook, 1999). Updated and republished 2013 a

Sparsnäs, Sweden: Irene Publishing. * McCarthy, Robert J. "Blowing in the Wind: Answers for Federal Whistleblowers", 3 ''William & Mary Policy Review'' 184 (2012). * * Rowe, Mary & Bendersky, Corinne, "Workplace Justice, Zero Tolerance and Zero Barriers: Getting People to Come Forward in Conflict Management Systems," in ''Negotiations and Change, From the Workplace to Society'', Thomas Kochan and Richard Locke (eds), Cornell University Press, 2002 * Wilkey, Robert N. Esq.
"Federal Whistleblower Protection: A Means to Enforcing Maximum Hour Legislation for Medical Residents"
''William Mitchell Law Review'', Vol. 30, Issue 1 (2003). *Engineering Ethics concepts and cases by Charles E. Harris, Jr. – Michael S. Pritchard- Michael J. Rabins.
IRS.gov
Whistleblower – Informant Award

Whistleblower& Laws Australia;– Global and Australian Laws: Steven Asnicar, 2019


External links

*
Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
from Her Majesty's Stationery Office
National Security Whistleblowers
a Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report
Survey of Federal Whistleblower and Anti-Retaliation Laws
a Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report
Whistleblower Protection Program & information
at U.S. Department of Labor
Read v. Canada (Attorney General)
Canadian legal framework regarding whistleblowing defence
Patients First

Whistleblowers UK

Why be a whistleblower?

Author Eyal Press discusses whistleblowers and heroism on ''Conversations from Penn State''


''Al Jazeera English''.
Whistle Blower Protection Authority
{{Portal bar, Freedom of speech, Business and economics, Journalism, Politics Whistleblowers, Anti-corporate activism Dissent Freedom of expression Freedom of speech Grounds for termination of employment Labour law Political terminology United States federal labor legislation Workplace bullying 1970s neologisms