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Types of Whistleblowing

by Olufisayo
Types of Whistleblowing

A whistleblower is an individual who reports malafide or criminal activity in an organization. Those activities are usually non-compliant with applicable laws and regulations, unethical, and in violation of public safety and health. The information is usually given to parties that can stop such wrongdoings, such as regulators, shareholders of the company, or law enforcement.

Given the complicated state of things, especially if the whistleblower has been involved in such activities, several laws are enacted to prevent retaliation, such as the Whistleblowers Protection Act, Dodd-Frank Act, and Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Here are the following types of whistleblowing:

Internal Whistleblowing

When a whistleblower reports disturbing behavior to their superiors within the organization, this is known as internal whistleblowing. For example, if an employee at one branch of the business reports a violation of policies or law to the corporate or head office, that is considered to be internal whistleblowing.

Some entities already have policies that dictate the general guidelines of reporting abnormal activities while also helping employees remain anonymous when they submit information about misconduct.

In this case, usually, neither a regulator nor the government interferes since it is an internal matter of the company. However, in special cases, the executive decision of reporting it to an appropriate external authority may be taken. This is done to avoid harsher consequences that would have occurred if regulators found out on their own accord.

External Whistleblowing

When a whistleblower reports suspicious activity directly to external sources, such as the media or law enforcement, it is known as external whistleblowing. Classified or private information of the company is reported to outside authorities because it is in the greater public interest. External whistleblowing is used to expose fraud or any illegal activity going on within the organization.

This is a more complicated case of whistleblowing as the individual must act in good faith, i.e., they are under the reasonable impression that the wrongdoing is occurring and have taken appropriate steps to disclose it to the relevant authority.

When the individual is not acting in good faith, they will not get any protection from the Whistleblower Protection Act and will not be protected from termination or demotion from their employment contract. Furthermore, to ensure that they remain on the right side of the law, they should be fully compliant in the official investigation and should not be involved in the reported wrongdoings.

Cyber Whistleblowing

Internal and external whistleblowing are the most common types but cyber whistleblowing is becoming more commonplace. In this case, the individual reports on online security breaches, unsecured practices, stolen data, encryption deficiencies, and hacks. Cyber whistleblowers are helpful in keeping people’s data safe in the online world.

Do I Have A Case?

If you notice something suspicious that isn’t in accordance with your company’s policies, it is always better to speak up rather than remain silent. Your actions can prevent harm to consumers and even to your colleagues. However, as a whistleblower, you must work with an experienced professional like a Los Angeles whistleblower attorney.

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