What Exactly is a Whistleblower?
Whistleblowing is a term used to describe the exposure of an individual’s or a company’s illegal activities. A whistleblower is the person who “blows the whistle” on misconduct by reporting concerns about alleged illegal or fraudulent conduct to the appropriate authorities. The wrongful conduct a whistleblower might expose could be healthcare fraud, defense contractor fraud, investment fraud, environmental contamination, or other kinds of corporate misconduct. A whistleblower can raise these allegations either internally or externally. Some whistleblowers report corporate wrongdoing internally, by reporting their concerns to a supervisor or by telephoning a confidential hotline. Other whistleblowers report their concerns externally by contacting regulatory agencies, the government, media outlets, or law enforcement agencies, or by filing a whistleblower lawsuit. Famous whistleblowers include: Sherron Watkins (who exposed the accounting irregularities at Enron), Jeffrey Wigand (who exposed the practices of big tobacco companies), Karen Silkwood (who blew the whistle on unsafe working conditions at a plant manufacturing parts for nuclear reactor fuel rods) and Harry Markopolos (who prophetically tried to warn the SEC about the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme years before it was finally exposed). Whistleblowers serve an important role in exposing and preventing wrongdoing in our society, especially when they bring a whistleblower lawsuit. Whistleblowers have several powerful tools available using federal and state laws to bring these whistleblower lawsuits.
Unfortunately, many whistleblower lawsuits are never brought because the people who know about the fraud are too afraid their employer may retaliate against them to voice their concerns. They believe that coming forward to report allegations of fraud might have implications in their job such as harassment, demotion or firing. What they often don’t know is that there are laws designed to protect whistleblowers and lawyers who can help them expose the fraud and guard against retaliation so they don’t face undue hardship themselves as a result of blowing the whistle.
If you know about a fraud and are considering becoming a whistleblower, seek the advice of whistleblower lawyers who know and can apply the whistleblower laws to your situation. Contact the whistleblower attorneys at Keller Grover LLP. These attorneys strive to achieve the best possible results for their clients, either at trial or through a whistleblower settlement agreement.