A model state law should maximize the characteristics that encourage whistleblowing by including rewards for reporting wrongdoing and broad protection from retaliation.
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Typically, most employees report wrongdoing externally only after the employer’s response proves inadequate, and/or the whistleblower suffers retaliation. Employees will more likely blow the whistle if they assume their report can make a difference. Responding to disclosures effectively and establishing clear internal reporting procedures is vital. There are nine points included in an effective whistleblowing program. Creating a written company policy that bans retaliation and encourages whistleblowing and establishing an easily accessible reporting procedure are the first steps. Moreover, it is essential to designate a high corporate officer responsible for policy compliance and prompt and effective investigation.
Hotlines have advantages, but there are some issues with this reporting form, including seeing anonymous reporters as less legitimate and persuasive. Even with the available and effective employer programs, it is necessary to include statutory exceptions to the mandatory internal disclosure (Bishara et al., 2013). It is needed if there is a danger of irreparable harm, the whistleblower reasonably thinks internal whistleblowing is futile, or organizational response is inadequate.
The most effective legislative incentive to whistleblowing is the significant financial rewards, so a reward system needs to be established. When wrongfully claimed monies are recovered and/or fines are collected, a portion of the recovered amount should be given to the whistleblower (Bishara et al., 2013). In different cases, some other incentives, like a job promotion, may become motivational. Besides, whistleblower reward programs may be created and sponsored by federal or state authorities.
Some persons consider whistleblowers as “snitches” and “tattletales” and see their purpose in benefiting themselves and/or harming others. All employees have to be responsible for what they report about and make sure that they can prove reasonably believing that the report was valid at the time of disclosure (Bishara et al., 2013). That is why those who recklessly or knowingly report false information should not be protected.
Protection from Retaliation
For a whistleblower, some retaliatory discharges are possible, so anti-retaliation statutes are enacted in all states. Nevertheless, some whistleblowers experiencing severe harm may be denied recourse. All employees who have exposed malfeasance and suffered reprisals need to be allowed to bring a claim, notwithstanding the retaliation form.
Bishara, N., Callahan, E., & Dworkin, T. (2013). The mouth of truth. NYU Journal of Law and Business, 10.
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