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What Is a Corporate Whistleblower?

by Olufisayo
Corporate Whistleblower

In the corporate world, 46% of fraudulent activity is revealed and stopped by internal whistleblowers. It is clear that without a protective system in place for people who expose fraud much of the unethical and illegal occurrences would still exist.

If you have information that could help prevent harmful behavior and stop the waste of funds then you should know the proper procedure to expose the wrongdoing.

Read on to find out what is a whistleblower and how to stay protected as one.

What is a Whistleblower?

The whistleblower meaning involves employees, clients, auditors, or anyone connected to a government agency or business who exposes internal information. They may discover fraud during their normal tasks and decide on their own that the behavior causes harm to the public or the company.

Certain fraud may or may not be illegal, however in either case, it is unethical. Blowing a whistle metaphorically brings legal attention to the behavior in order to place the acting wrongdoers within the court of justice. The end result is a process to remove the accusers from office or position of power and repair the financial, moral, and structural damage done.

       

Certain organizations help those who want to report a crime or wrongdoing. However, a personal attorney like The Whistleblower Lawyer is also needed to ensure the whistleblower follows the procedures to accurately expose the fraud without harming themselves.

Many of these organizations also serve as a regulating body for recording keeping, safety protocols, and law monitoring. They include OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the SEC (Security and Exchange Commission), and the Sarbanes Oxley Act program.

Whistleblowing Within Corporations

If you define whistleblower within the corporate world it usually involves an employee discovering a waste of funds through embezzlement. This kind of fraud costs the company hundreds of thousands and if not millions of dollars in damages. As an employee, it can also affect your career, financially and by reputation.

You might think that exposing the fraud can cause you harm since the company you work for will be harmed. Losing your job if the company crashes can be a devastating consequence of whistleblowing. However, you must weigh the current damage against the final consequences.

Luckily, on many occasions, the whistleblower comes out of the process with a badge of honor and in some cases compensation for their efforts. You also have the benefit of knowing you saved others from fraudulent behavior by saving them money and time.

       

So, while you take a risk that includes restructuring your company, loss of a job, or even scrutiny from the accusers you can rest assured that your efforts won’t be done in vain.

How to Be a Whistleblower?

Some of the most famous whistleblowers risked a lucrative job and their company’s reputation to undo wrongdoing. All they had to do was look at the way the fraud hurt the people around them and make a brave decision.

Some whistleblower examples include Sherron Watkins and Karen Silkwood.

Watkins, a former vice president to Enron, had a high paying career with an abundance of perks. However, she noticed unethical accounting practices conducted by top executives to hide financial losses. This prompted her to take action in order to expose her own company’s debt and stop further deceit among the public, Wall Street, and the company’s investors.

Since she was an executive at the company, she decided to write a letter to her boss to attempt to fix the problem internally. However, the letter became public and lead to drastic consequences, including bankruptcy.

       

Silkwood revealed unsafe practices at the Kerr-McGee Nuclear Power Plant that put her and your employees at risk. The company knew about the hazards yet did nothing to fix them, most likely due to incompetence and financial restraints.

Unfortunately, Silkwood threatened to expose the company before finding the resources to protect herself. While her story became public, she wasn’t around to enjoy it since she was found dead mysteriously.

As a whistleblower, you have more options than handling the situation within the company to ensure your safety. This is especially true if your superiors are involved with the scandal.

Your first step is to hire a lawyer specializing in whistleblowing. You can then report the case to a regulating organization. Both can assist you in revealing the documents to ensure they were acquired lawfully and shared in a way to protect the confidentially of others.

How Are Whistleblowers Protected?

When done properly, using a lawyer and a regulating body, you are completely protected as a whistleblower. Congress has implemented certain laws to encourage whistleblowing.

       

The False Claims Act allows you to sue a wrongdoer involved in fraud within federal programs or contracts using a qui tam lawsuit. This allows you to reclaim lost federal funds to the public with ample evidence.

At a corporation, you are protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that disallows the company to harm you for exposing the fraud. This includes termination, demotion, penalties, and financial reparations for damages.

Rewards for Whistleblowers

The whistleblower definition includes protective rights as well as financial compensation. In many cases, the whistleblower receives a percentage of the funds recovered by the government or agencies from the fraudulent party. The evidence shown by the whistleblower must directly expose the fraud to which the funds have been recovered to qualify for a reward.

Even if the unethical behavior isn’t considered illegal, exposing habits of waste can lead to a small reward for helping the company save money.

Recovery After Whistleblowing

Now that you know what is a whistleblower, you may ask where are the whistleblower now? Recovering from the process of exposing fraud and going through the court to solve the issue can be lengthy and strenuous. It is important to keep in mind the lives you are helping rather than the process.

       

When it is all over, you will be revered as an honest employee who aims to enhance the company. Use this as a gateway to find another job in a reputable company. You may even decide to work for yourself to ensure good business practices.

Visit the Entrepreneurship section for tips on getting your business started.

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