National Whistleblower Appreciation Day Recognizes Whistleblower Contributions

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Last year, by a unanimous resolution, the United States Senate declared July 30, 2013 “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.”

The resolution was unanimous, according to the National Whistleblower Center, which also indicated that it “strongly supports” the move, which it described as historic. All Americans were asked to consider the huge contributions that whistleblowers have made to the country’s democracy and the costs and suffering whistleblowers have withstood.

The resolution designated July 30, 2013 as “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day” and resolved that the Senate ensure that the federal government put in place the Founding Fathers intent, which may be seen by the legislation enacted on July 30, 1778. To do this, the government is encouraged to ensure that every executive agency recognize “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day” by advising employees, contractors working on behalf of U.S. taxpayers, and the public about the legal rights of U.S. citizens to “blow the whistle,” the National Whistleblower Center wrote. The Center also indicated that executive agencies should acknowledge whistleblower contributions in the fight against waste, fraud, abuse, and violations of U.S. laws and regulations.

Following passage of the “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day” Resolution, Center Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn issued the following statement, in part:

“In honor of ‘National Whistleblower Appreciation Day’ we urge all Americans to reflect on these past sacrifices and accomplishments and show support for the whistleblowers today who are fighting to defend their reputations, their jobs and their freedom after exposing lies at the highest levels of government and frauds that have robbed tax-payers and investors of countless billions. The Senate’s establishment of ‘National Whistleblower Appreciation Day’ is a historic first step in changing the hostile workplace culture that had made it so difficult on American’s to fulfill the ‘duty,’ recognized by our Founding Fathers, to blow the whistle in the public interest.”

Whistleblower contributions have helped to stop illegal and unethical employer activities that may lead to harm and fraud that endangers lives and the economy.

The False Claims Act helps to ensure that whistleblowers are protected and are compensated for their work. Passed in 1863 during the Civil War, the Act includes amendments that were added in 1986 that increased damage and penalty amounts to help induce whistleblowers to come forward. Whistleblower awards range from 15-30 percent of damage and penalty amounts, which means whistleblowers may receive awards in the millions of dollars.

The Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Law also enables whistleblowers who report a securities fraud complaint to remain anonymous when working through a whistleblower attorney. Also under the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Law, anonymity is maintained until a cash award is paid. Once paid, the whistleblower name must be released. Should the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) choose against pursuing a securities fraud action, the whistleblower name will never be released.

National Whistleblower Appreciation Day continues to be recognized with events scheduled in numerous locations nationwide.