The Federal Government, as well as several States has worked hard in recent years to pass legislation protecting whistleblowers from retaliation. Known as a whistleblower’s act, this type of legislation is popping up more frequently as the notoriety of whistleblowing is increasing.
Whistleblower Act Laws in the States
Several States have been leading the charge in this type of legislation. The following is a list of states that have enacted False Claims Acts at the state level.
New York City
Whistleblowers Act on the Federal Level
The Federal Government was actually first on the scene in providing protection for whistleblowers. In fact, President Abraham Lincoln was the first to urge Congress to pass laws protecting those revealing fraud against the Government. Since that time there are have been increases to the level of protections as well as setbacks as various entities within the Federal Government seek to strip away the rights of the whistleblower to protect themselves.
- Whistleblower Protection Act of 2009
As part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the law enhanced the rights of those revealing waste, fraud and corruption in regard to federal funds. Those protected were individuals in both the private and federal sector.
The protections specifically shield the individual from termination, demotion in rank or position or any other form of discrimination linked to the release of the information.
- Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012
Also known as the WPEA, the legislation was passed with bi-partisan support and signed in law by President Obama in November of 2012.
The law significantly increased the protections afforded to federal whistleblowers. Since government fraud, abuse and corruption directly affect the taxpayer, it was deemed vitally important to empower and protect those who were risking their careers to protect the investment of the taxpayer.
These two whistleblower acts have had a huge impact on various corporations and federal agencies in recent months as more people are being encouraged to step forward with their stories.
While not everyone agrees with every case of whistleblowing, it is an important part of accountability in a free society. The Whistleblowers Act Law should be of interest to every individual that is interested in truth and transparency.
Work Still to Do
The law is still not perfect, and there are many areas that still need to be addressed. For example, there is still inadequate protection for employees of the NSA who disclose information within the proper agency channels. The discussion of how whistleblowers should reveal misconduct in an organization that deals in highly classified information is ongoing, but it remains important to find a way to make it possible and then add those protections to the next version of the Whistleblowers Act that is signed into law.