Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) chairwoman Mary Schapiro speaking at the Society of American Business Writers and Editors’ conference on Monday announced that the SEC will ask Congress for “whistleblower authority” similar to that used by the IRS in investigating tax fraud. Three independent studies have found that whistleblowers are the most effective way to detect and deter fraud. It is about time that the SEC recognize the contributions of whistleblowers and help protect them.Continue Reading...
Today, the Public Employees for Envirnonmental Responsibility (PEER) released a study and ranking of state whistleblower laws. PEER found that more than 20 states have broadened their whistleblower laws since 2006. Please click here to read the highlights of the study.
If you are looking for more information on state whistleblower laws please visit the new interactive map of the U.S. on the National Whistleblowers Center website. The map shows the qui tam laws, whistleblower statutes, and common law remedies for each state.
The Madison Wisconsin Capitol Times has this story today about Tom Nanstead, an electric company whistleblower who was terminated in 2005 after reporting that his employer routinely overbilled its customers for their utilities. Now, four years later, it has been determined by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, that Xcel energy did indeed overbill their customers, but Mr. Nanstead has found no legal recourse that can return him to work or provide him with compensation. This well-written story highlights the need for a national whistleblower protection law, and especially the trouble faced by private-sector whistleblowers.
On Sunday April 5th, the Washington Post reported that Steven Napper and Robert Ranghelli blew the whistle on the unethical and unsanitary conditions at the National Funeral Home. Napper and Ranghelli reported that bodies destined for burial at Arlington National Cemetery were left, sometimes for months, on unrefrigerated racks because coolers were full and the company did not want to spend money on additional coolers. They stated that the facility stored as many as 200 bodies in unrefrigerated areas, including the garage, and that the bodies, sometimes fully exposed, leaked fluids on the floor. Families of the deceased are calling for an investigation into the funeral home’s actions. A letter from the parent company, Service Corporation International, denies all allegations and insists that their facilities are run according to regulations.
While the allegations are still pending further investigation, the reports from the whistleblowers highlight how courageous employees can expose potentially illegal and unethical conduct. Please read the articles and watch the videos linked below for more information on the case.
“Family Asks Fairfax Prosecutor to Investigate Funeral Home” Washington Post, April 7, 2009 (PDF Copy)
“'I Never Could Have Imagined': Dignity Was Denied the Dead as Bodies Were Stored and Handled Using 'Disturbing' Methods, Area Funeral Home Workers Say” Washington Post, April 5, 2009 (PDF Copy)
“Va funeral home accused of atrocious conditions” Washington Post, April 5, 2009 (PDF Copy)
Child Abuse Whistleblower Arrested in Jersey (British Dependency)
This morning Jersey Senator Stuart Syvret was arrested for alleged violations of data protection law. In 2007, Senator Syvret was removed as Minister for Health and Social Services after claiming child abuse cases were being covered up. Chief Minister, Frank Walker, accused Senator Syvret of damaging Jersey’s reputation by publicly calling for an independent inquiry and for court cases to be held on the UK mainland. Now Senator Syvret has been arrested. It is still amazing what some people will do to silence a whistleblower.
"Child abuse whistle-blower arrested” Rye & Battle Observer April 6, 2009 (PDF Copy)