Friday, April 29, 2005

Be a whistleblower.

As a very young child, I was intrigued by whistleblowers. It seemed an odd job: blowing a whistle all day. And I couldn't figure out how blowing a whistle could get you on the evening news. What I didn't know then was that the whistle being blown was a metaphorical one. And it's not a job, but an important responsibility. If you witness wrongdoing on your job, you have a choice: remain silent and allow the wrongdoing to continue, or bear witness, speak out, and do your part to end the wrongdoing.

The False Claims Act can be used to expose government and other types of fraud. Thankfully the 1986 anti-retaliation language of the False Claims Act offers some protection to people who tell the truth about government fraud. The whistleblower is entitled to reinstatement with seniority, double back pay, interest, attorneys fees and costs, and special damages, sustained as a result of discriminatory treatment resulting from the whistleblowing. In addition, if the government collects from the fraudulent contractor, it permits the whistleblower to share in the proceeds. Need more information?

* The National Whistleblower Center, in operation since 1988, "is a nonprofit, tax exempt, educational and advocacy organization dedicated to helping whistleblowers."

* The Government Accountability Project "is a 28-year-old non-profit public interest group that promotes government and corporate accountability by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists.  We pursue this mission through our nuclear safety, international, corporate accountability, food safety, and federal employee/national security programs.  Our activities include litigation, advocacy, media work and legislative affairs."

* Ask yourself these three questions to find out if you should blow the whistle on wrongdoing. If so, follow these twelve survival strategies to blowing the whistle wisely.

* Learn more about legal protection of whistleblowers.

Need some concrete examples of the good whistleblowers do? They are responsible for the removal of the unsafe drug Vioxx from the shelves. They forced disuse of ineffective bullet-proof vests, and they initiated investigations into Halliburton. The actions of whistleblowers have improved environmental protection, nuclear safety, and government and corporate accountability, and saved countless lives and dollars. It's your choice. Get the information you need so you can speak out about wrong to strengthen the good.

1 comment:

I'M WITH JESUS said...

Barrick Gold of Elko, NV, (the largest gold mine in the world) is absolutely the worst about hiring only rednecks to work in the mines. They are anything but an EOE employer. Can someone help penetrate their management's arrogance? Thanks!