The following is a brief summary of the Government
Accountability Project's handbook for whistleblowers, The
Whistleblower's Survival Guide: Courage without Martyrdom. To
obtain a copy, see the order form at the bottom of this page.
Every year, thousands of Americans witness wrongdoing on the job. What they witness may jeopardize the health, safety or lives of others. They may see managers at a nuclear facility violate a safety code, a chemical company dump hazardous waste unlawfully, or a food processing plant attempt to sell contaminated, dangerous meat to consumers.
Most employees remain silent in the face of such misconduct. They conclude that it is not their concern. Or that nothing they can do would stop the -wrongdoing. Or that they can't afford to cause problems on the job.
Others choose to bear witness and speak out. They seek to make a difference by "blowing the whistle" on unethical conduct in the workplace. Under the Whistleblower Protection Act, whistleblowing is defined as disclosing information that an employee reasonably believes is evidence of illegality, gross waste, gross mismanagernent, abuse of power, or substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
Whistleblowers' actions may save lives or billions of dollars. But rather than receive praise for their integrity, they are often targeted for retaliatory investigations, harassment, intimidation, demotion, or dismissal and blacklisting. Pentagon whistleblower Ernie Fitzgerald describes whistleblowing as "committing the truth," because employers often react as if speaking the truth about wrongdoing were committing a crime.
The Government Accountability Project (GAP) was established to help these employees, who, through their individual acts of conscience, serve the public interest. Since 1977, we have provided legal and advocacy assistance to thousands of workers who have blown the whistle on lawlessness and threats to public safety and the environment.
This report is designed to share some of the lessons GAP has
learned with others. It is a summary of GAP's comprehensive
handbook for whistleblowers, The Whistleblower's Survival Guide.
Both the handbook and this summary offer information and guidance
on the risks and costs of ethical action in today's workplace.
Above all, we seek to help employees decide whether and how to
turn information into power by challenging wrongdoing in
government or industry.
DECIDING TO BLOW THE WHISTLE
Your decisions about whether and how to blow the whistle may be among the most significant professional and personal choices you make; you should understand the implications and potential pitfalls of your choices. Through assisting whistleblowers over the years, GAP has learned much about what kinds of strategies and cases are most likely to be successful and which are a recipe for frustration or failure. If you decide to speak out even after learning about the risks, we want you to do it in a smart and strategic manner, one that will serve your own as well as the public's interests. Please keep in mind that the suggestions provided here are not a substitute for seeking assistance from an attorney; for help in locating and selecting an attorney, see the final section.
GAP has developed a set of core questions, summarized in the box below, for evaluating potential -whistleblower cases and their prospects for success. You may want to ask yourself these questions--and perhaps weigh them with an attorney as you consider whether to blow the whistle.
Beyond these general criteria, your decision about whether to
blow the whistle is intensely personal. It means making a choice
between conflicting social values-between being a good "team
player" at work, for example, and "standing up for what's
|Before You Blow the Whistle|
|Is the wrongdoing at issue substantial enough to warrant the risks of reprisal and the investment of human and financial resources to expose it?|
|Are your allegations reasonable and can they be proven?|
|Can you make a difference in resolving the wrongdoing if you blow the whistle, or will you be beating your head against the bureaucratic wall?|
Our culture frowns on prying "busybodies," but we also disapprove of the "see no evil, hear no evil" attitude of those who don't want to get involved. The decision also raises conflicting and deeply personal issues of loyalty and livelihood, such as the right to privacy versus the public's right to know. Loyalty to family is as much an instinct as a duty: we don't bite the hand that feeds our family by turning on our employers. We may feel a similar loyalty to our colleagues at work. At the same time, few would disagree that we have a duty of loyalty to the public trust, the law and our communities as well-one that would lead us to speak out against wrongdoing,
Determining how to act on these conflicting values is not easy, and it is a choice that only you can make. Equally important, your decision about whether to blow the whistle should be fully informed by an understanding of the potential risks and rewards of your actions.
GAP's experience shows that when individuals act strategically with the truth on their side, they can make a difference. Whistleblowers are the Achilles heel of organizational misconduct, if they bear witness when it counts. Used astutely, truth is still the most powerful political weapon in our society, capable of defeating money and entrenched political machines. Armed with the truth, whistleblowing Davids repeatedly have exposed and defeated Goliaths who put goals of economic or political power above the public interest.
Over the years, GAP has seen many examples of the public
importance of whistleblowing. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and
corporate inspectors exposed
"I have values that just won't let me participate in illegal things. There is nothing extraordinary about me at all. I am not a hero. But you've got to live with yourself. If I didn't do it, how could I live with that face in the mirror every morning?" -Bert Berube, General Services Administration whistleblower
the use of shoddy materials and falsified data--and forced the cancellation or restart of nuclear power plants that were "accidents waiting to happen." Federal meat inspectors blew the was contaminated with feces and other filth--and stopped the meat from reaching consumers' dinner tables. Government scientists revealed massive fraud and abuse in the Star Wars missile defense system--and sparked the cancellation of "Brilliant Pebbles," planned as the program's next generation. Workers at the Hanford nuclear weapons facility saved citizens in the Pacific Northwest from possible exposure to millions of gallons of liquid radioactive wastes in the water supply-by exposing and blocking operation of a dangerous plutonium reprocessing plant.
If the rewards and public benefits of whistleblowing can be substantial, so too are the costs. Time and again, GAP has seen whistleblowers pay an enormous professional and personal price for their actions--often one they did not anticipate. Because we want you to be prepared, we do not mince words in describing the risks of your decision.
You almost surely will suffer some level of harassment or retribution for living the values of a public servant. Academic studies confirm that over 90 percent of whistleblowers report subsequent retaliation. You may not believe your employer is your adversary, but the record shows that employers often do not want to be told what is wrong with their operations. Frequently they greet the bad news by trying to silence the messenger--to avoid any bad publicity, cost overruns, liability, or simply to prolong the benefits of the misconduct. It is not uncommon for whistleblowers to be harassed, socially ostracized, demoted or even fired.
You must also take a realistic and pragmatic view of the law, and the degree to which you will be legally protected from recriminations for speaking the truth. In theory, for example, federal government whistleblowers have the benefit of a government agency-the Office of Special Counsel--that exists to protect their constitutional rights and the civil service "merit system." All too often, however, federal workers who try to defend their whistleblowing rights before administrative judges find that these rights exist on paper only. Whistleblowers in the private sector face an even weaker patchwork of legal defenses.
Besides the obvious risks of potential job loss and inadequate legal protection, there is also an emotional and mental price to pay for whistleblowing. Lifetime friends may turn against you, and people with whom you work may treat you as an outcast--even if you believe your actions are in their interest.
Keep in mind, finally, that you should not blow the whistle
unless you are prepared to make the commitment of following
through on your charges. It is very difficult to stop mid-stream.
As a general rule, it would be better to have looked the other
way than to have blown the whistle half-way or unsuccessfully:
the patterns of misconduct may be reinforced after withstanding
WHERE AND HOW TO BLOW THE WHISTLE
Once you decide to blow the whistle, you are faced with
another dilemma: Where should you take your story? To government
officials? The media? What avenue is most likely to expose and
correct the wrongdoing you have revealed? Which is best able to
protect your interests and concerns? Some avenues provide greater
confidentiality than others. Some are well-positioned to expose
wrongdoing; others tend to discourage dissent. Still others are
known for taking action against whistleblowers. You should know
the pros and cons of each before you choose. See GAP's handbook
for a full discussion of your options; a brief summary of some
common whistleblower outlets is provided below.
Hotlines and Other Disclosure Programs: Virtually all federal agencies have established employee hotlines to learn about potential wrongdoing or mismanagement: an employee can call the toll-free hotline and report an allegation of fraud, waste or abuse. Unfortunately, government hotlines have proved neither effective nor safe whistleblowing channels. Their track records are abysmal: even those hotlines with even those hotlines with the best records investigated less that 20 percent of calls within a year.
Confidentiality problems are also a concern. Despite the presumed goal of anonymity, it is difficult for a whistleblower to provide sufficient information to support allegations without giving away identifying details. In some cases, hotlines have directly alerted employers of callers' identities, exposing the whistleblowers to retaliation.
Corporate voluntary disclosure programs are the private-sector
equivalent of government hotlines, functioning as part of
corporations' internal compliance systems for oversight and
enforcement. Like many hotlines, these in-house programs are
vulnerable to the conflict of interest inherent when an
institution is responsible for investigating its own alleged
misconduct. Investigations, for example, often are conducted by
attorneys whose professional duty is to the client corporation,
rather than to the public. In general, neither government nor
corporate in-house disclosure programs can be considered
safe, reliable channels for whistleblowers who want to make a
The primary conventional channel for investigation of employee concerns is the Office of Inspector General (IG). Each federal agency has one, either by that name or another, with varying degrees of independence. These offices are responsible for investigating and reporting on alleged misconduct by the agency or its employees. At best, IGs have a mixed track record of responding to whistleblowers. Even offices with statutory independence from their host agencies often are led predominantly by employees grounded in 'old school" traditions, from a time when the Inspector
General served as management's eyes and ears. This meant that if the agency chief wanted to get the facts and act against wrongdoing, the IG performed as a law enforcement agency. But when the agency leader wanted to cover up a problem, the IG performed damage control by issuing a report that assembled the case for the defense. Too often this tradition continues, sustained by structural incentives. Even relatively independent IGs receive their performance appraisals and merit bonuses from the same department chiefs whose operations they are charged with keeping honest.
IGs often return cases for investigation to the agency charged with alleged misconduct. In a disturbing number of agencies, IGs have a history of failing to pursue the evidence of wrongdoing whistleblowers, instead searching for information to discredit them. The most serious misconduct occurs when an IG wittingly or unwittingly serves as a hatchetman against whistleblowers. In GAP's experience, it is not uncommon for an IG's office to implement one of the prime tactics of retaliation--directing the spotlight at the whistleblower rather than at his or her allegations of wrongdoing.
It would be unfair and counterproductive, however, to
stereotype IGs or their staffs: in several instances, GAP has
participated in effective partnerships with whistleblowers and
IGs. As a general rule, whistleblowers are well-advised to seek
expert advice or retain an attorney--even if only for coaching
purposes--before going to an Inspector General, You should
clarify precisely how the IG will conduct the investigation
before sharing your concerns and evidence. You should insist that
all agreements, plans, and schedules be made explicit-rather than
agreeing to handle matters informally or trusting that what
appear to be common understandings will guide the office's
subsequent actions. Above all, you should insist that you be
permitted to review your statements and any summary of your
allegations to ensure their accuracy and completeness.
Office of the Special Counsel
Along with investigating reprisals, the Office of Special Counsel runs a formal whistleblowing disclosure channel. Congress has charged the OSC with screening whistleblowing disclosures from federal employees. The OSC can order the relevant agency chief to investigate those challenges that it determines have merit, or trigger a more intensive review and reform process if it finds a "substantial likelihood" that the whistleblower's charges are accurate.
When this mechanism is administered in good faith, it offers
strategic benefits for a whistleblower seeking to challenge
wrongdoing. In particular, it provides an opportunity to gain the
legally-binding judgment of an objective third party that the
charges must be taken seriously. Unfortunately, the OSC's track
record for living up to its promise is poor. With some
exceptions, the OSC has seldom made the decisions necessary to
trigger serious evaluation of wrongdoing and corrective action.
In general, these flaws in the system mean that an OSC
whistleblowing disclosure is likely to be a waste of time or even
counterproductive--unless it is part of a larger strategy
involving other institutions, such as the media or the courts.
The False Claims Act
The False Claims Act is an avenue for whistleblowers who seek
to expose fraud in federal contracts. Through this Act,
individual whistleblower "relators"--employees or
non-employees who are original sources of evidence of fraud--can
challenge government contract fraud directly before a jury of
taxpayers. Used properly, the law is a powerful tool.
Whistleblowers must be sure that they meet the requirements for
filing a false claims suit, however, and should be aware that it
can be a protracted and potentially quite expensive process,
unless the Department of Justice (DOJ) takes the case over after
initial review. A false claims suit also imposes limitations on
the whistleblower: while the case is "under seal' for DOJ
review, for example, you cannot discuss the evidence publicly.
Whistleblowers often have been successful in using the
constitutional system of checks and balances, triggering
legislative oversight of Executive Branch abuses. Members of
Congress, however, are pressured by a range of constituencies,
including major contributors in their states or districts.
Members also often want to retain good relations with the
Executive Branch, unless there is a compelling reason to
challenge the bureaucracy. Many simply pass complaints back to
the agency for self-investigation; congressional offices also may
inadvertently fail to protect your identity. For these reasons,
it is important to do advance research and develop a careful
strategy before blowing the whistle to a member of Congress.
The News Media
The news media is an obvious and important whistleblower outlet; media exposure can be very effective when handled properly through a responsible reporter. To protect yourself, however, research and choose a reporter
what s/he can and cannot do for you. Before providing the
reporter with any information, for example, be sure to clarify
and reach agreement on the terms of your working relationship.
See GAP's handbook for specific tips on how to work with the
media carefully. It is also important to understand how best to
approach a reporter with a potential story about wrongdoing, and
Nonprofit advocacy organizations can provide advice, share their own research and knowledge on issues of concern to you, act as allies, or even serve as a conduit for anonymous disclosures. In addition to organizations such as GAP that specialize in helping whistleblowers, you may want to seek help from issue-oriented public interest groups with a particular interest in the information that you are disclosing (such as environmental and consumer groups). In some cases, member-based employee organizations-such as labor unions, employee federations, and professional associations-may also provide a valuable assistance. Keep in mind, however, that if you want to maintain control over how your information is used, you should first consult with an attorney and establish ground rules for the information's release.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR LEGAL
PROTECTIONS-AND THEIR LIMITS
Many whistleblowers assume that they are legally protected from retaliation. To an extent, they are night. Despite warnings and threats you might receive, it is your night under the Constitution and numerous laws to blow the whistle and not to suffer discrimination for doing so. Government employees are protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution, which prohibit federal, state and local governments from retaliating against workers who express reasonable dissent on matters of public concern. A host of laws reinforce this right. Protection for employees in the private sector has developed over the past 25 years through statutes and under the common law.
Unfortunately, these protections are neither comprehensive nor well-enforced by government agencies and the courts. In some respects, what has evolved is a patchwork of specific employee legal protections covering environmental, health and safety, labor relations, and civil service issues. Overall, the odds of winning a reprisal lawsuit are not good--but they are improving. The rate of success for winning on the merits in administrative hearings under federal, whistleblower laws has risen to between 25 and 33 percent in recent years, up from a previous rate of less than 10 percent in reported decisions. Many cases are thrown out on procedural grounds, however, and whistleblowers tend to fare worse in unreported decisions. Before you blow the ,whistle, you should know the legal protections that apply to you--and their limits.
For federal employees, the foundation for whistleblower
protection is the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA). That
law created a shield for the "merit system" principles
underpinning the civil service by outlawing specific forms of
harassment, called prohibited personnel practices. These include
failure to hire, loss of duties and termination. The law
explicitly prohibits these personnel actions for whistleblowing
disclosures, refusal to violate the law, exercise of appeal
rights, or off-duty conduct that does not affect job performance.
Violations of related constitutional or statutory rights also are
"When you work your way up like I did, you have a pride in your work... you have to stand up, not just for yourself, but for a principle. At the time, I made a decision of conscience. Given who I was and what I know, I had no choice to do anything but exactly what I did." -Lynne Bruner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission whistleblower
This list of merit system rights was expanded--and the Civil Service Reform Act significantly strengthened-by the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 and its 1994 amendments.
On paper, these laws provide strong legal protections against retaliation by federal employers. But enforcement has been abysmal. Federal employees seeking protection largely must rely on the Office of Special Counsel-an agency that historically has been indifferent and even hostile to whistleblowers--and an inadequate administrative law forum, the Merit Systems Protection Board.
In addition to the Civil Service Reform Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act, the federal government has passed 28 whistleblower protection provisions. These are tucked into various federal laws--such as environmental or public health and safety statutes-to shield employees who help to enforce those laws. The laws often cover federal, state and local government workers as well as private-sector employees. They generally prohibit retaliatory discrimination against whistleblowers in broad terms, rather than listing specific illegal reprisals. The most commonly used statute is the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA); about half of the statutes involve environmental protection. Generally, the forum for protecting these rights is an administrative law hearing at the Department of Labor. Those challenging fraud in federal contracts are entitled to a federal district court trial under the False Claims Act.
Federal protection for private-sector whistleblowers is largely limited to these piecemeal protections in environmental and other statutes. Because there is no comprehensive federal law that prohibits employers in the private sector from retaliating against whistleblowers, some states have adopted common-law remedies under the "public policy exception to the employment-at-will doctrine." This means that private-sector employees who work without a contract can no longer be fired "at will" for blowing the whistle on an issue of particular importance to the public, such as health or safety. In the past, such an employee could be fired for any reason or no reason. But today, 42 states and the District of Columbia offer protection to workers who suffer discrimination for speaking out in defense of the public.
Although each state interprets the public policy exception differently, most classify retaliatory discharge as a tort, which is a wrongful act for which a civil action can be brought in court. Employees who file suit are entitled to jury trials and, if successful, possible punitive damages (a monetary award beyond the actual loss, to punish the source of the damage and deter its recurrence). Generally, these laws have one- to two-year statutes of limitations.
The following states and the District of Columbia have recognized the public policy exception to the termination at-will doctrine: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Nineteen states also have passed specific statutes offering varying levels of legal protection to private-sector whistleblowers: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode island, Tennessee and Washington.
In addition to these protections for private-sector employees, 38 states have adopted laws protecting government workers, generally state employees. These are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Be sure to consult with an experienced employment law attorney
to learn which state and federal legal options are available to
you and how effective they are likely to be.
FINDING LEGAL HELP
Regardless of whether your whistleblowing leads to a lawsuit, a well-informed and sympathetic attorney can offer guidance throughout the process--and can help you avoid serious missteps. An attorney can help you prevent reprisals from occurring in the first place, through supervising and monitoring your disclosure through the safest channels. If retaliation is inevitable, an attorney can ensure that you are on solid legal ground by screening your disclosure to provide an expert opinion on whether it is "legally protected speech." Otherwise you may forfeit your rights: if you say too much or do not have enough corroborating evidence, what you intend as whistleblowing may not qualify for legal protection.
Be careful in choosing and working with an attorney; this is a partner on whom your professional future may depend. Remember, too, that although your attorney's legal advice is important, decisions about whether to remain silent or speak out are ultimately yours to make: it is you, not your attorney, who will live with the consequences of your choices.
Some specific tips on securing effective legal representation from GAP's handbook are provided below.
For referrals, contact
groups and individuals who have experience with employment
attorneys. Contact GAP and other public interest groups
for suggestions. Also, traditional sources such as the local bar
association or relevant committees of the American Bar
Association can help identify respected specialists. Your local
public library should have a copy of the lawyer's directory,
Martindale-Hubbell, which describes specialists under a variety
of cross-references. When seeking referrals, ask for attorneys
whose expertise is wrongful discharge. If that fails to produce
an adequate list, broaden the scope to employment law.
Before even talking to a
prospective lawyer, take time to summarize your story
in writing. Be concise: limit yourself if possible to
less than two single-spaced, typed pages and certainly
less than five. Take your time preparing this document.
Your case summary supplies an attorney's first impression of you
and your communications skills. It also allows the attorney to
test your credibility by questioning you based on your statement.
Stick to the facts and avoid unnecessary rhetoric. Be sure to
discuss any special circumstances you may face:
whistleblowing with a government security clearance, for example,
poses particular problems. Be ready to identify solid candidates
as supporting witnesses and explain how they can help. Also,
compile a list of relevant documents currently or potentially
available. It takes a near-rniracle to win without either strong
supporting testimony or documentary evidence.
Remember that a primary
goal of your initial interview is to build the attorney's
confidence in your prospects for winning. Prospective
lawyers may be wary of someone who immediately cross-examines
them on too wide a range of topics: remember that the attorney
needs to form an overall first impression of you. Before you get
serious about signing a retainer, however, you must know where
you both stand on a range of issues-so you will need to ask
questions, including some of those discussed below.
Confirm that the
attorney-client privilege applies to what you discuss, and check
for conflicts of interest. Before sharing information,
ensure that the lawyer will not reveal information without your
consent. Then, even if you have confirmed the confidentiality of
discussions, check for conflicts of interest. Before your
introductory meeting, check the list of "representative
clients" in Martindale Hubbell. (Old copies may have more
complete listings.) If you see any potential conflicts of
interest, ask the attorney about them before you disclose
Learn the attorneys
track record in handling cases similar to
yours, such as win-loss records and significant precedents or
benefits obtained for other clients. There is
nothing rude about simply asking; you can also request
references. Another way to gather this information is to
review public court documents, such as briefs and relevant )
judicial decisions in similar cases that the attorney has
Make clear your goals
and objectives. One common reason that attorney-client
relationships sour is that each entered the partnership with
different expectations. An essential step in deciding on an
attorney is to know and communicate your own expectations. This
includes not only matters involving the attomey's representation,
but also matters concerning the larger public policy issue that
triggered your whistleblowing. Legal organizations and individual
attorneys vary tremendously in their values, priorities and work
styles. Some lawyers, for example, will be uncomfortable if you
keep speaking out publicly about your whistleblowing charges
during the lawsuit. Others will support your ongoing public
activism. Similarly, one firm may be appropriate for a
whistleblower who wishes to settle a dispute quietly, while
another would better serve a whistleblower whose goal is to have
his or her day in court.
Clarify your financial
burdens and options from the outset. Before meeting with
a prospective attorney, find out if there is a fee for the
initial consultation, and if so, what it is. If you do not ask,
you may find yourself unable to afford up to four-figure
composite bills incurred in your effort to make an informed
choice. Once you establish a relationship with an attorney, be
sure to discuss and agree on your financial obligations--and then
Clarify time commitments.
Find out how much time the attorney has and will commit to. At
the same time, determine how much time and effort the attorney
expects from you as a participant in preparing your case.
Some attorneys prefer their clients to be functional partners,
while others view the same client initiatives as interference.
Get a commitment on how
much notice you will receive of developments, information and
decisions that make a difference for your case. It can be
poison for a working relationship and fatally undermine a
client's rights if an attorney withholds key developments. On the
other hand, it is unrealistic to expect a lawyer to do his or her
job if s/he must review daily developments with each client.
Facilitate a relationship of trust that you both can count on by
establishing this balance up front.
Pin down your role in
any settlement negotiations. The great majority of cases
settle before trial. Request advance notice of proposals before
they are made or of offers from the other side before any
response is issued, and pin down the attorney's willingness to
respect your authority as the final decisionmaker in the
settlement. A client is in a position of comparative weakness if
an attorney threatens to quit unless settlement terms are
accepted on the eve of trial. Remember, though, that your lawyer
is the partner on your team with unique expertise. Most of us
have an unrealistic expectation of what we deserve to achieve in
a settlement, which is--by definition--a compromise in which both
parties will be partially disappointed.
When you sign a retainer
agreement, remember that it is a contract. Read the terms
carefully to make sure they reflect any informal agreements
reached on items listed above or from your own checklist. If you
don't understand a term, ask the attorney to explain it and to
replace the "legalese" with an English translation you
understand. If the attorney balks, consider that a warning.
The tragedy is that a survival guide for whistleblowers is
necessary. Our warnings and advice are drawn from the lessons
learned by public servants who told the truth and often paid a
bitter price, The good news is that lessons can be learned.
Whistleblowing does not have to be the sound of professional
suicide. And despite the high personal risk, whistleblowers can
and do make a difference.
We hope that your eyes are open to the full range of risks
that come with the territory. If we have scared you from blowing
the whistle, perhaps you weren't ready. If you are still
determined to go ahead, we hope that our suggestions will empower
you to do the right thing for the public while trying to protect
your career and your personal life. Good luck.
Recognizing Retaliation: The Risks and Costs of Whistleblowing
Blowing the Whistle Wisely: 12 Survival Strategies
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