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A whistleblower is an individual who informs the public as a whole of the illegal activities that are going on in a public or private organization. The alleged activity may be because of breaking a law, regulation, policy, threats to public interests, health violations, health violations and most importantly corruption and abuse of office. Such activities are usually reported internally or externally. When the activities are reported internally, that means that they are reported to the fellow worker in the same organization. When the matters are reported externally, they are reported to other law enforcement agencies, media, regulators, or the different groups of people who are responsible for those issues in those organizations.
First laws that were introduced in 1863 did protect the whistleblowers. The laws were started during the civil war where the people did mismanage funds and fraud was found to be rampant. On this note, the whistleblowers were promised a percentage of the money that was collected from those who committed those crimes. The whistleblowers were also promised that they were not going to be dismissed from their places of work. It has always been the case that whistleblowers face many challenges from the organizations from where they work and other organizations, which support them. The laws that represent and support the whistleblowers are usually connected with the states where they are formulated. There are different laws for different states as indicated below.
Whistleblower Laws in Different States
Many laws together with the whistleblower laws are usually meant to safeguard the right and protection of the employers’ retaliation. These laws are enforced by various agencies that are governmental and those that are private. These laws in the US and in the Department of Labor in particular are meant to protect the whist blowers and take care of the employees retaliation for reporting any breaking of the laws, refusing to take part in any activities that have been mentioned as being illegal or taking part in any ongoing activities within the laws. The corporate and criminal Fraud law is also included in the Sarbanes Act of 2002, which was put up by the Department of Labor to foresee the breaking of the rules that are set by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
This also applies to the breaking of laws that are set by the federal state, which refuses the issues of fraud against the shareholders of a given organization. This law not only criminalizes employer retaliation but in stipulates all the publicly traded institutions to have internal processes to allow for whistle blowing. The laws bestow more whistle blowing activities to the attorneys. Discrimination laws in the state or federal government usually have these whistle blowing laws that guide their members from harm and other malpractices. This is true for any case where an individual working in any organization sees a prohibited discrimination on the workers he or she is not to be retaliated against in the event of reporting this matter to the U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission. When the employer goes to court or retaliates the individual and he is supposed to file a case with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to get his or her rights protected.
The whistleblower as a whole protects all those individuals who work for the federal government and it is usually enforced by the US Office of Special Counsel. The Military Whistleblower Protection Act also protects the whistleblowers in the military and this law is usually safeguarded by the Department of Defense. The whistleblowers that are in the federal governments are required to follow certain codes of conduct in doing their work. Every state is usually given the mandate to create and promote its laws concerning whistle blowing. These laws are supposed to include or add to the minimum protections laws that are given to the federal government. All employees are always advised to seek the services of attorney before they start the whistle blowing process. This will ensure the individuals to act within the stipulated law and not bypass on the laws that are set by the state in question. As mentioned earlier it is better to know that every state has its own laws that concern the acts of whistle blowing. On breaking this, laws set by various organizations it is usually possible for the offenders to end up in jail for failing to comply.
In Alaska the whistleblower laws prohibit all employers from dismissing and giving threats of all the employees who make it open to the public what is happening in the organization in question. The employer is also given the mandate to take part in any court proceedings that are taking place on view on the matters that the whistleblower took into notice. Those who break this law are usually punished with fines of up to $10000.
In California, the laws stipulate that it is not lawful for an employer to bring out laws or policies that affect and retaliates against the employee. When they report such cases to the federal government or the other law enforcement centers when they are sure that the information they are giving out corresponds to the various violations that are not allowed by the state or the federal government. The claims that the employees have against the employers must be reported within 90 days of the alleged act.
In Colorado all the state employees are always protected against any retaliation that may take place at any time. The employees are not to be discharged or any of their information disclosed to the outsiders of all the offences that they did report to the agencies and the government authority as a whole. This information, which usually is made after misuse of funds, abuse of office or mismanagement of the various agencies should be kept in confidence until the courts decide on which proper action to take. The workers in the health care sector are also protected from the information they give concerning the conditions of patients who are in their hands in the various hospitals. All the contractors of the state agencies are protected against any information they reveal shows mismanagement of funds or partiality in the workplace as a whole.
In Connecticut, it is unlawful for any employer in a government institution or private organization to discriminate against an employee who reports matters that happen in the organization with the intention of dehumanizing human life as a whole. The employees in questions are not to be discharged or given penalties for the information they give concerning the evil that is going on in their various institutions. The information given by the employees should be ascertained by an attorney to verify whether the laws of the state have been violated in one way or another. Once the information given is found to have some evidence of breaking the law by the employer the information is then forwarded to the various institutions that are responsible for disciplinary actions. Employees who end up giving information that is not true are always discharging off their duties or the state and the agencies responsible can give any punishment that they deem appropriate. Any employees that usually feel aggrieved are always supposed to file a civil suit so that their case can be determined by the courts. When evidence is found that the employees in question made false information against the employers they are supposed to be discharged.
These suits are usually done within 90 days of the occurrence of the discriminatory treatment. All the employees that are usually prevailing are given the costs that were made use of and the attorney fees as well. Any individual is given the mandate to report directly to the Attorney General any conducts of corruption that take place in the governments bodies. Other violations that can be reported directly to the Attorney General include unethical practices, breaking of the state laws, waste of public funds, mismanagement, danger of public safety, abuse of office. Disclosure of such names of those people who are employees is usually prohibited against. This also applies to retaliations against such people. Those people who make false information knowingly can be dismissed after a court order has said so.
In Delaware, not all employees in the public sector are supposed to be discharged or discriminated when they make such recommendations to the auditor of accounts. This does not apply when the employees know very well that the information they give to the committee concerning the various unlawful acts is false. As such when the employees give false information to the auditor of accounts about a probable mismanagement of funds or corruption they are discharged and fines placed on them to recover the amount of money that was used for the attorney and other services.
In Florida, no employer is supposed to take any action against an employee for reporting or threatening to disclose to any agency the things that take place in those organizations. On the event of discharge, any employee is supposed to file a suit so that they can be returned back to their positions with some profits added on top of them. In the event of false information, the employee then is supposed to be discharged without any problems. When the employees testify against the cases that are prevailing concerning bad things and activities the concerned organizations deal in. When the employees testify they are not supposed to be discriminated or discharged because the stand they take against the institutions they are working for. Many employees in the past have been able to present cases to the agencies that safeguard the interests of citizens against fraud and other things. The same employees were neither discharged nor were they dismissed by the parent organizations. When they are discharged, they have a right to go to the auditor general and report about corruption, mismanagement of funds or abuse of office.
In Kentucky, the state and the people in the political arena are not in a position to retaliate, discriminate, threaten against any employee who comes forward in good faith, and report any violations that take place in their various areas of operation. The employees are supposed to report to the General Assembly, the Legislative, the Judicial, or the Research Commission on any unethical behaviors that have been seen or exhibited in the various organizations. When this information is given, it is usually not supposed to be leaked out again but proper channels are followed to ensure that the information given is correct and did occur as recorded. After a careful study to see if the report warrants any further investigation, they are usually done by the concerned parties and the results presented to the bodies, which ordered the investigations. The employees are informed to report the cases when they happen and do not need to make any notice to submit such information, which is very important in the public view. It is usually not lawful for employers to retaliate against any employee who deems it right to report any unethical behaviors. Any employee who feels that he or she is aggrieved is supposed to file a suit within 90 days for any damages that may be required and pay back or reinstatement. Employers are not to be discriminated against or discharged when they make this kind of information without being compelled by anybody but by their own will. There are penalties that are applied which include fines of up to $250 and up to 3 months imprisonment. The assistant secretary of labor usually has the power to institute civil proceedings with fines to the excess of $500. All the costs that are usually associated with the case are always left to the prevailing parties.
These laws as mentioned above seem to be similar in most of the states in the USA. Most of the laws are similar as they object the issue of dismissal, discharge, or discrimination against those who report these cases to the proper authorities. When the case is reported, the agencies usually require employees to seek the intervention of attorney to ascertain that the cases they are trying to push forward are legitimate. The employees, on the other hand, are required to give information that is true and has evidence of some sought, when the given information is false then the employees may be discharged or dismissed and fined depending on the state where these accusations take place. In most states, the employees have a mandatory condition to report the occurring within 90 days of the discriminatory activity. The employees as well as the employers are supposed also to report within 90 days when they need to be compensated or reinstated to their previous positions.
In the case of the federal agents, they were not to be discharged of their duties because they acted upon the limits of the law. The agents did have valid information of what was taking place in the department and the state had no right to discharge them or discriminate them. In the event that the agents were going to be discharged or dismissed they were allowed by law to be compensated by the state of the total amount of money that they had spent and the things they had lost as a result of the occurrence. On knowing this, the agents were very comfortable in giving their reports. When this report was being given, it was found out that it was true. This was found out after investigations were conducted in the whole department. As a result, they were not to be charged against any unlawfulness but the people who were later to charge were the department managers who had defrauded it without notice of people.
The salaries of the agents were not stopped as well or any underground activity undertaken as a result because the laws in the state did stipulate very well that they did have a voice in looking for those who did unethical activities and reporting about them to the relevant authorities.
The laws that were put in place helped a great deal as the whistleblowers were not dismissed or discriminated against. This was important as it gave employees the morale to go out to the concerned organizations and present their cases against the illegal activities that take place in their places of work. When this information is given, the whistleblowers can also be kept from the public eye, as they are not informed of who gave out the information. Whistleblowers have done a good job in the past by revealing important incidences that occur in various places.