Whoever said that movies are not that important for our careers probably has not seen “The Informant” starring Matt Damon, and “The Insider” with Russell Crowe. Just because certain people mean to exploit you, doesn’t mean that you have to let them. As long as you are a respectable citizen of your country, you are paying taxes, and working with a contract, you must not accept any type of abuse. One of the most common practices that many employees have become accustomed to is wrongful termination. This basically means that employees will attempt to terminate your contract, through illegal means. Obviously, you have the right to contest their decision, and hopefully be compensated for your loss.
Whistle-blowing is a term that has received a lot of attention, thanks to the movies that we have already mentioned above. Also, you don’t have to be a movie star in order to do the job of a whistle-blower. But before we dive into this subject, let’s see what it means:
Whistleblower “1. (an informant who exposes wrongdoing within an organization in the hope of stopping it), 2. One who reveals wrongdoing within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority”
In other words, the government supports people who testify and provides with information (to legal authorities) regarding alleged illegal activities of their boss. This violation of the law is punishable with up to 10 years in prison, or 250.000$ fines. Many whistle-blowers are concerned about their future in a certain company, and avoid to step up, but the laws have been recently redesigned in order to better protect whistle-blowers’ careers. Most of these laws try to ensure that people who expose “no-do-gooders” will not be fired or have problems at work. Here are the most important things that you should know before doing the job of a whistle-blower on an entire operation:
- The concept is simple: anyone who has solid proof that there is something suspicious going on in their company can step forward, and draw the curtains on any illegal operations. According to attorneys, and the law, whistle-blowers receive a percentage of the lawsuit settlement funds, and federal laws protect them for wrongful termination and discrimination.
- Illegal Activities and Violations: one of the most important questions that must be going through your head right now is what exactly does an illegal activity mean. There are many, and the list is not limited to storage of toxic materials, dumping of waste, testing on unaproved subjects, evading taxes, fraud, improper safety procedures for workers, effect on general public etc. Many tobacco industries have been exposed by whistle-blowers in the past.
- Stocks and Securities fraud is what happens when the issuer of a stock makes untrue claims abut the safety of the stock or security. An act from 2002, which focuses on the “Corporate and Auditing Accountability and Responsibility Act” will set new standards among US companies. It will also involve having external auditor independence, better accesses, and complete financial reports to track disclosures and corporate fraud accountability. This act also creates new protections for corporate whistle-blowers. They are also responsible for the creation of “audit committees” which include procedures for those who wish to become whistle-blowers themselves.
- The Qui Tam law allows different whistle-blowers to take the place of the government, and try to find answers on its behalf. This law was adopted by 20 states, and it will probably lead to a more efficient economy, while also protecting innocent workers.
- Corporate Corruption is another thing you should consider when it comes to this unusual practice. Chances are that whistle-blowers will be faced with reporting of corporate fraud or misconduct (fail to pay taxes, lying about debt and income etc).
In conclusion, we already mentioned that whistle-blowers have many rights, but every state has its own jurisdiction, which means that details may vary. There have been many popular cases, and you should definitely check them out if you wish to learn more about doing the job of a whistle-blower.