A whistleblower is a person who owns and reports information about someone’s wrongdoings such as a violation of the law in a company or any other places related to it. Usually whistleblowers disclose this knowledge to the public or some authority. Whistleblowers may appear in both the state sector and private sector. They’re also protected by special laws.
How do Whistleblowers reveal the information
A whistleblower may disclose the information to special organizations. These organizations specialize on exposures, some of them work in several branches and some of them focus on one particular side. For instance, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is an American regulatory agency that focuses more on environmental and safety violations. Some organizations also suggest different ways of submitting insider knowledge.
There are several ways of revealing information. A whistleblower may either choose to report wrongdoings to a company's authority or a big governing or regulating body. If the information reveals wrongdoings of people with high positions, it’s better to contact a regulating body.
Appearing of Whistleblowers
The word consists of two parts, the first is "whistle," which refers to a special tool that makes a loud sound to attract attention, the second part is "blower" that means a person who attracts attention. The term has its origin in the nineteenth century, when police officers used whistles to inform the public or fellow officers about a crime. It was also used by sport referees in order to mark foul play. The word firstly was used in 1883 in a Janesville Gazette’s article, where a policeman was called a whistleblower.
It’s said that Ralph Nader, an American civic activist, was the person who started to use the word whistleblower around 50 years ago as a replacement for "informer" and "snitch". He was the one who gave the word a new meaning.
Example of Whistleblowers
Throughout history there were many whistleblowers, some of them revealed inhuman medical studies, some disclosed military and political information. One of the most famous whistleblowers is Edward Snowden. In 2013 he exposed NSA top-secret programs, including the surveillance program.
Protection of Whistleblower
One of the most dangerous things in whistleblower activity is retaliation from people who were accused by whistleblowers. Thus, all whistleblowers should be well protected. Companies and organizations are prohibited to harm a whistleblower, fire or demote him and pursue legal action against him. Sometimes associates or family members are in danger, in these cases, they’re put under protection as well.
In some countries, there are some acts, which provide protection for whistleblowers. In the U.S. it’s the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, which provides protection of federal employees. In the UK it’s the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA). And in South Korea the Act on the Prevention of Corruption encourages employees to reveal wrongdoings.
Rules of rewarding
Normally whistleblowers have all rights to receive a reward. It may be regarded as compensation for revealing illegal actions. After getting the information the government or regulating bodies recuperate the money and one part of the money is allocated for the whistleblower. It’s extremely important that the released information mustn't be well-known, it must be unique. Moreover, it must be the first and the only revelation of the information, if not there is a high chance of never getting the compensation.
In every company excessive expenses may happen, they can be either illegal or legal. Thus, some companies have their own approaches that help to get information about such wasteful practices and motivate their employees to put forward ideas in order to improve money management. Sometimes, the reporting worker may be rewarded for his or her suggestions. It’s worth noticing as it can’t be said for sure whether the practice is illegal or not, people are not always able to get protection and recognition as a whistleblower revealing it.
However, if this excessive expense refers to expenses within government, the reporting one is usually recognized as a whistleblower and receives relevant protection.