Our Mission:

Protecting Whistleblowers Who Protect The Public Interest

FAIR (Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform) promotes integrity and accountability within government by empowering employees to speak out without fear of reprisal when they encounter wrongdoing. Our aim is to support legislation and management practices that will provide effective protection for whistleblowers and hence occupational free speech in the workplace.

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Top Stories

NY Times Editorial: Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower, Not Traitor

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NY Times Editorial Board – January 1, 2014

Seven months ago, the world began to learn the vast scope of the National Security Agency’s reach into the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe, as it collects information about their phone calls, their email messages, their friends and contacts, how they spend their days and where they spend their nights.

The public learned in great detail how the agency has exceeded its mandate and abused its authority, prompting outrage at kitchen tables and at the desks of Congress, which may finally begin to limit these practices.

Vermont auditor seeks whistleblower protection law

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December 13, 2013

The state accounts auditor asked lawmakers on Friday to consider passing a law to protect the identities of people who want to report problems in state government. Auditor of Accounts Doug Hoffer told a legislative committee that under current state law if someone reports a problem to his office he could be compelled to release the name of that person if asked.

“When I came into office I learned that people who contact my office and want to share information about what they consider to be wrongdoing — waste, fraud and abuse and so forth — I cannot protect their identify, which I think has a chilling effect on their calling my office,” Hoffer said Friday after he testified in front of the Legislature’s Public Records Legislative Study Committee.

New California Law Expands Protections For Whistleblowers

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Laura Reathaford and Keith A Goodwin – December 16, 2013

On October 12, 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 496, which, along with two other new laws (SB 666 and AB 263), expands protections for whistleblowers in California by significantly altering California Labor Code Section 1102.5, California's general whistleblower statute. The amendments are effective January 1, 2014.

Before it was amended, Section 1102.5 already prohibited employers from retaliating against employees who reported reasonably-believed violations of state or federal laws, rules, or regulations to a government or law enforcement agency. SB 496 extends this protection to employees who report suspected illegal behavior:

UK health care whistleblowers honoured by Queen

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James Gallagher – December 30, 2013

Two women who led the fight against one of the most shocking failings in NHS history have been recognised in the New Year honours list. The care at Stafford Hospital left some patients drinking water from vases, it is claimed, and receptionists assessing emergency cases.

Julie Bailey, who set up the campaign group Cure the NHS after witnessing her mother's treatment, was made a CBE. Helene Donnelly, a nurse who became a whistleblower, was made an OBE.

US whistleblower cases have gone 'through the roof,' while watchdog faces uncertain budget

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Jack Moore – December 2, 2013

The Office of Special Counsel, the agency tasked with investigating federal-agency whistleblower claims and protecting whistleblowers, themselves, from retaliation has seen demand for its work skyrocket in the wake of recent legislative changes.

Now, Carolyn Lerner, the head of the OSC, said she hopes the small agency's budget will keep pace. In the first few months of 2013, following the passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act last fall, OSC received its highest number of quarterly claims from employees alleging retaliation for reporting wrongdoing.

Netherlands whistleblower no longer persecuted

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Audrey Graanoogst – December 3, 2013

Whistleblower Ad Bos is  finally freed from prosecution, after twelve years. The Amsterdam court put an end to the case against the 65-year-old Bos on Monday, by declaring the public prosecution inadmissible.

The prosecution had requested the court to come to this decision, because the case no longer served a purpose, and it had already gone on for too long. In addition, the prosecutions recognized the social importance of Bos as a whistleblower.Bos responded relieved, but calm, Monday, saying he still had to process the course of events, but he was happy, and would celebrate.

Transparency International Canada calls for better protection for whistleblowers

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Better statutory protection for whistleblowers, an enhanced focus by law enforcement on domestic bribery,and public agencies introducing strict sanctions for corruption offenders are among 11 recommendations included in a report (pdf) released on December 9, 2013, by Transparency International Canada (TI-Canada) for the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) Implementation Review.

The report was prepared by TI-Canada with input from non government organizations. Efforts were made to obtain information for the report from government offices and to engage in dialogue with government; a draft of the report was provided to the federal government.

Federal government’s tax evaders whistleblower program delayed

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Jason Fekete – January 8, 2014

A whistleblower program announced last March by the federal government that would pay cash rewards to snitches with tips on tax evaders is several months overdue, and isn’t expected to be up and running until sometime later this year.

The Stop International Tax Evasion Program was announced in last year’s budget and trumpeted by the Conservative government as a key tool in combating the growing, multibillion-dollar problem of offshore tax evasion.

Canada’s crackdown on government whistleblowers

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Sylvie Therrien

David Hutton – December 20, 2013

The House of Commons recently shocked many Canadians by demanding its employees sign a comprehensive, lifetime “gag order” with draconian sanctions for any breach. Following on the heels of the Senate scandal, this heavy-handed measure reeked of a coverup strategy and seemed to confirm that our political leaders are more concerned with concealing the truth than being transparent and accountable for their actions.

Although some MPs are now saying they will reconsider, this incident is not an aberration: it is part of a trend to suppress and criminalize truth-telling in Canada. Regardless of the government’s rhetoric, Canadian whistleblowers are actually worse off today than they were 10 years ago.

First Nations rights advocate honoured by Nobel Women’s Initiative

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Cindy Blackstock

Bev Betkowski – December 10, 2013

The leader of a University of Alberta partnership devoted to strengthening the rights of First Nations children has received acclaim from the Nobel Women’s Initiative.

Associate professor Cindy Blackstock, head of the First Nations Children’s Action Research and Education Service  (FN CARES) in the U of A’s Faculty of Extension, was one of 16 human rights advocates profiled this month by the prestigious Nobel Women’s Initiative.

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