The Whistle Blower Protection Act has long been regarded as one of the finest features of corporate governance in the world. Much attention has been received for alerting the public and law enforcement authorities of any threat, theft, or criminal activity in organizations. The Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989 is a statute that safeguards government whistleblowers against retaliatory measures after voluntarily providing information about the criminal activity of organizations. The job of a whistleblower is to report all deceptive acts or immoral practices that take place inside an entity. Therefore, with this law, the state or any federal agency is barred from threatening or taking action against employees who disclose information they believe is dishonest or violates the law or the compliance of regulation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforce the Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989 by barring companies from taking rush decisions while dealing with whistleblowers. The Act protects employees in case a firm retaliates because such an organization could face several punishments including lawsuits and fines.
The whistleblowers are important people in any state or government. A whistleblower can disclose information about abuse of power and authority, fraud, and mismanagement because he/she is protected by the Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989. In fact, whistleblowing plays a significant role in alleviating corruption and any other illegal activities in organizations (Devine 540). In case of any illegal practice or fraudulent activities in an organization or the government, employees are the first people to know about it, and they have a choice to make whether to reveal it to the public or to keep quiet. Nonetheless, with the Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989, the federal employees are protected, and they are free to expose any activity they feel is inappropriate. The act makes a provision for the protection of the federal employee who blows the whistle from unfair treatment and even dismissal. Any reprisal against a whistleblower is a criminal offense, and this is stipulated in the Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989.
Employers or organizations who hit back on whistleblowers suffer various consequences. The Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989 protects all whistleblowers against any infringement of their rights. Surprisingly, if an organization decides to hit back on a whistleblower, the Act allows the employee to file a lawsuit against them. The Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989 “Authorizes employees who have been adversely affected by a prohibited personnel practice to bring an action before the Board” (Schultz and Khachik 88). In addition, since the leaked information is always accurate with reports and statistics, the organization risks losing its reputation and image in the public domain.
Many people always ask if the Whistle Blower Protection Act protect employees and the answer is yes and no. The Whistle Blower Protection Act was passed on July 9, 1989, to provide advanced protection for federal employees and all the former employees. This act was enacted by the Congress to strengthen the whistleblowers’ protection and federal rights. Nonetheless, there are those whistleblowers that lose after exposing fraudulent activities and other mismanagements, and there are those who get compensated and are protected from any harm or harassment from their employers (Schultz and Khachik 94).
It is true that the Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989 was passed as law to protect employees who expose fraud and other illegal activities in organizations. Nonetheless, the act does not protect so much. For instance, Miceli et al. notes that the whistleblowers rights are difficult to apply because research shows that about 64 percent of the whistleblowers who sued companies retaliating using the employment law lost their cases (130). In addition, the authors further add that a majority of them lost their jobs despite being protected by the law and this makes many employees fear to blow a whistle because they fear being fired or losing a case against an organization. Most whistleblowers come forward because of the severity of the situation and support from other people. However, the Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989 does not fully protect them because a majority of them ends up losing despite taking a chance to expose fraudulent activities (Peffer et al. 78). The act should not be lenient with the reported organizations but to adequately protect the whistleblowers by giving them support both emotionally and financially and ensure that they do not lose their jobs, and if they do, they should be guaranteed a way out. In addition, the protection by the act should be extended to non-governmental employees and not federal employees only. Several non-governmental employees have damaging information about their organizations that can be of a public threat, but they do not expose the info because the Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989 does not protect them (Miceli et al. 138). Most of these employees fear to lose their jobs or even getting worse punishments. Even though the act has been termed as a protection act that protects everyone, it only protects a few federal employees making it unfair to the other employees.
The Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989 has helped to reclaim lost taxpayers money. Whistleblowers use the information they have to shackle out fraud in government organizations through the federal whistleblower’s programs. With the information they give out, it helps shed out on any corruption that would have gone unnoticed, and this is a civic duty to the people and the state. Whistleblowers have uncovered several illegal schemes that could have harmed the government and the citizens because of the enactment of the Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989 (Callahan and Dworkin 128). There are many examples of whistleblowers cases, for instance, the famous Mt. Healthy v. Doyle 1978, the Berube v. General Service Administration and the Russell v. the Department of Justice. In addition, there are several whistleblowers, for instance, Daniel Ellsberg who leaked the “Pentagon Papers” that revealed that the US was deeply involved in Vietnam leading to the war. The papers leaked by the military analyst showed that the Johnson administration had a growing military and political involvement in Vietnam but lied to the Congress and the public. Even though the state retaliated against him by charging him with espionage, theft of government property, and conspiracy, the charges were dismissed because he was under the protection of the Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989. Therefore, even though whistleblowing has its consequences, the Act to some extent protects the whistleblowers from retaliation from the federal government.
Despite the fact that the Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989 has helped to protect employees who expose illegal activities to some extent, the Act lacks anonymity. For this reason, some employees fail to expose or report any illegal activities because they feel that their identities will be disclosed and this could harm their careers. The lack of the anonymity provision in the Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989 makes it unfavorable to the whistleblowers, and thus many have given up on reporting any form of corporate deviance because they feel that the act does not protect them fully (Miceli et al. 140). The whistleblowers act has failed to fulfill its primary objective of protecting the rights and privacy of federal employees because it exposes them and this makes it difficult for them to work in the same place, and with the same people they report, and this is detrimental to a whistleblower’s career.
In conclusion, whistleblowing is not something that is new because it has been there for a very long time since the enactment of the Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989. Whistleblowing is the act of reporting or exposing fraudulent activities or misconduct to the public or entities that have the power to take a corrective measure or notify the general public about the fault. Most whistleblowers are federal government employees or employees of an organization who report a misconduct that is a violation of the law or a threat to the public interest. Whistleblowing alerts both the public and law enforcers about any danger to the people. The whistleblowers Act of 1989 primary objective was to protect the whistleblowers, but it is unfortunate that it does not fully protect them. Many employees fear harming their careers because the lack of the anonymity provision and this prevents them from raising a flag even after realizing or witnessing malpractices within their organizations. Therefore, there is the need for significant improvements on the Act to ensure that even the weakest employees are protected when they expose unethical activities within government agencies.
Callahan, Elletta Sangrey, and Dworkin Terry Morehead. “The State of State WhistleblowerProtection.” American Business Law Journal 38.1 (2000): 99-175. Print.
Devine, Thomas M. “The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989: Foundation for the ModernLaw of Employment Dissent.” Administrative Law Review (1999): 531-579. Print.
Miceli, Marcia P., et al. “Can Laws Protect Whistle-Blowers? Results of a Naturally OccurringField Experiment.” Work and Occupations26.1 (1999): 129-151. Print.
Peffer, Shelley L., et al. “Whistle Where You Work? The Ineffectiveness of the FederalWhistleblower Protection Act of 1989 and the Promise of the Whistleblower ProtectionEnhancement Act of 2012.” Review of Public Personnel Administration 35.1 (2015): 7081. Print.
Schultz, David, and Khachik Harutyunyan. “Combating Corruption: The Development ofWhistleblowing Laws in the United States, Europe, and Armenia.” InternationalComparative Jurisprudence 1.2 (2015): 87-97. Print.