Whistleblowers suffer a brand of abuse nearly unparalleled in the American political landscape. While trying to uncover corruption and combat illegal activity, whistleblowers are put through hell as their lives are picked apart during the investigations and prosecution of the crime they initially brought to light.
“It’s a shame that whistleblowers are so often the target of concerted attacks and abuse. If not for the brave efforts they make, the public may never learn of grave injustices committed by governments and corporations ” commented Christopher Paulos, an attorney with the Levin, Papantonio law firm who practices in the areas of whistleblower and qui tam litigation. “The importance of whistleblowers in our country cannot be overstated, they’re simply the very best method of exposing and defeating fraud and corruption.”
As Kate Kenny stated at TruthOut:
While we may admire whistleblowers and celebrate their bravery, we don’t seem to want to help those who struggle for years. The message for many who are forced to go outside their organisation is clear: you may never work in your industry again because of your disclosure, and there is zero financial support available to help you.
Whistleblowers experience a stigma within their industry when they go public. It often makes them undesirable hires and leaves them unemployed after they have served the public. The widespread proliferation of unprecedentedly easy access to information in the internet-age has made it so. The history of any public figure is just a few mouse clicks away with services like Google easily accessible.
The result, Kenny says, is that “these brave individuals are often left with no job, no income and a pile of bills, including legal and medical costs that often accompany a lengthy and stressful whistleblowing campaign against a retaliatory organisation.”
It’s time to break down the stigma around whistleblowers and recognize their vital role in our democracy. Let’s make the change and protect our whistleblowers.