Survey: Most Whistleblowers Unable to Protect Themselves

Despite recent publicity given high profile female whistleblowers, a survey by the National Whistleblower Center finds that most whistleblowers are male and many still lack the legal rights to protect themselves from retaliation by their employers.

The survey was based on a random review of 200 cases reported to the National Whistleblower Center in 2002. Key findings:

  • 60% of whistleblowers were male, 40% were female.
  • 50% alleged they were terminated after they blew the whistle.
  • 51% blew the whistle on fraud or criminal practices.

Some but not all whistleblowers were accountants. Others worked in a variety of other occupations ranging from computer programmers and social workers to doctors, teachers, and airline pilots.

To help whistleblowers gain the legal rights needed to protect themselves from retaliation, the National Whistleblower Center supports additional measures ranging from legislative relief to tax relief and prohibitions against unfair pre-employment agreements.

The Center says whistleblowers face double taxation of remedies due to a loophole in the federal tax code. And, in many industries, whistleblowers are unable to obtain a judicial remedy due to pre-employment agreements in which employees are required to sign away whistleblower remedies years before they witness wrongdoing.

Download the Center's report on "The National Status of Whistleblower Protection on Labor Day 2002."

-Rosemary Schlank

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