The two sides of the whistleblowing coin

Offering Big Payouts and Potentially Bigger Repercussions

September 15, 2015
Nashville Bar Journal

Whistleblowing has been heralded as the greatest check on Corporate America's greed since Occupy Wall Street. It has also been accused of being equally ineffective.

A whistleblower (whistle-blower or whistle blower) is a person who exposes any kind of information or activity that is deemed illegal, dishonest, or incorrect within an organization, whether that organization is governmental, private or public. Individuals blow the whistle for all sorts of reasons: personal integrity, altruism, concern for public safety, belief in justice and self-preservation. But some say that whistleblowing handicaps internal compliance programs at companies, is practically ineffective, creates long-term disincentives (in that most whistleblowers never fully recover earning power) and is a "race to the bottom", which avarice as the motivating factor.

Whistleblowing is subject to a number of constraints, not the least of which is that the causes of action are based upon a hodgepodge of state and federal laws and regulations, and if a whistleblower fails to meet each and every requirement and deadline, the claim, and the whistleblower, is lost.

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