What is Whistle-blowing ?
Whistle blowing in its most general form involves calling(public)attention to wrong doing, typically in order to avert harm. Whistle blowing is an attempt by a member or former member of an organization to disclose wrong doing in or by the organization.
Whistle blowing is usually defined as “the disclosure by organization members (former or current) of illegal, immoral or illegitimate practices under the control of their employers, to persons or organizations that may be able to effect action”
This definition was mean that the disclosure by whether is former or current employees of unethical or immoral practices by their employers or a person that have privileged access to the data or information of an organization to the persons outside of organization that have potential to rectify the wrongdoing, or an within organization.
Types of whistle blowing:-
Internal Whistle- Blowing
When an individual advocates beliefs or revelations within the organization.
External Whistle- Blowing
When and individual advocates beliefs or revelations outside the organization.
What are the elements of ethical whistle-blowing?
There are 4 elements of ethical whistle-blowing.
1) The whistle blower
2) The whistle-blowing act or complaint
3) The party to whom the complaint is made
4) The organization against which the complaint is lodged
The steps/procedure for a whistle-blowing
Here are the steps whistle-blower lawyers at Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP tell clients who are ready to bring a qui tam matter to light.
Step 1 — Get Evidence
This is the most important step in your whistle-blower claim. It’s crucial that you get documentary evidence of the fraud. Such evidence can include emails, internal studies, billing records, or test results. If you can witness the wrongdoing first hand that’s great, but not necessary. This evidence will help support your claim when you present it to the government.
Step 2 — Presenting the Evidence
Under the False Claims Act, the whistle-blower must file a complaint in court as well as submit it to the government, along with a Disclosure Statement that details the alleged misconduct. However, before filing the claim, we will set up a meeting with the appropriate government agency to discuss the claim. This is when you have to show the government that you have enough evidence of the fraud to support your claim.
Step 3 — Government Investigation
Now comes the longest part of the claims process — the government’s investigation. During this time, all aspects of the matter, including the whistle-blower’s identity and the investigation itself, will remain confidential. Any formal complaints filed in court are kept under seal so even the defendants don’t know what’s going on. During this time, you may be interviewed by the government, along with any other witnesses involved or knows of the fraud.
Step 4 — The Decision
If the government decides to bring a case, the whistle-blower may be asked to testify at trial or a grand jury proceeding. It’s at this point your identity will be disclosed. Roughly 90 percent of False Claims Acts cases the government intervenes in tend to be successful. But if the government declines to intervene, these whistle-blower cases are less than successful. Without the government’s support, the pursuit of the cases can be expensive and lengthy. Also, you may be prepared for retaliation from your employer. Although it is illegal for a company or organization to retaliate against a whistle-blower, it still happens.
In conclusion, whistle blowing is about reporting or publicizing wrongdoing. There may be a risk of retaliation, which could lead to loss of employment, relationship and mental, but the consequences of not reporting can be very grave. Therefore, whistle blowing rules and regulations should be enforced in order to protect the welfare of whistle-blower, as well as encouraging whistle blowing culture in the workplace. This is to ensure that an organizational is always free from any fraudulent and illegal act that may harm the organization and jeopardize the society.