July 30th National Whistleblower Appreciation Day

Today, July 30th, is National Whistleblower Appreciation Day as designated by Senate Resolution 202 (published in the Congressional Record Vol. 159, No. 111, p. S6078). Text of Resolution 202

The resolution is based on the first whistleblower legislation probably passed in the birth of the United States by members of the Continental Congress on July 30, 1778. The resolution acknowledges the the Continental Congress legislation that recognizes “the duty of all persons in the service of the United States, as well as all the other inhabitants thereof, to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge.” The resolution states the public policy of the United States to encourage “honest and good faith reporting of misconduct, fraud, misdemeanors, another crimes to the appropriate authority at the earliest time possible.”

The resolution encourages each executive agency of the Federal government to “recognize National Whistleblower Appreciation Day by “(A) informing employees, contractors working on behalf of United States taxpayers, and members of the public about the legal rights of citizens of the United States to blow the whistle; and (B) acknowledging the contributions of whistleblowers to combating waste, fraud, abuse, and violations of laws and regulations in the United States.”

In my experience representing whistleblowers in public and private employers, it is one of the most challenging things to do. There is backlash from the employer and even co-workers. It take a lot of courage to do and usually at significant costs. So if you are a whistleblower or know one, the citizens of the United States thank you today for your service to us all.

Whistleblower Protections for Employees of Recipients of Stimulus Money

The McCaskill Amendment to the economic stimulus bill passed by the Federal Congress on February 12, 2009, includes new whistleblower protections for employees of recipients of the stimulus money. The protections ensure that employees of private contractors and state and local governments and other non-Federal employers can blow the whistle on a covered employer that receives a contract, grant or other payment from the stimulus bill. The protection covers disclosures to a person with supervisory authority over the employee, a State or Federal regulatory or law enforcement agency, a member of Congress, a court or grand jury, the head of a Federal agency, or an inspector general. The disclosure must be something that the employee reasonably believes shows gross mismanagement; gross waste of stimulus funds; a substantial and specific danger to public or health or safety related to the implementation or use of stimulus funds; an abuse of authority related to the implementation or use of stimulus funds; or a violation of law, rule or regulation that governs an agency contract or grant related to stimulus funds.

New Whistleblower Protections for Healthcare Workers

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 created new whistleblower protections for health care workers. The act prohibits retaliation against an employee who provides or is about to provide to an employer, Federal Government or a state Attorney General, information that the employee reasonably believes to be a violation of Title I of the act. The act similarly protects someone that participates in an investigation or objects or refuses to participate in any activity that would violate Title I of the act. Title I of the act has a broad range of rules covering health insurance, policy and financial reporting and prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s receipt of health insurance subsidies.