Part of the “Quick Peek” Series, exploring the NEW edition of Stephen Kohn‘s Whistleblower’s Handbook.   

Whistleblowing is the foundation of democracy. “The roots of whistleblowing can be found deep in the American dream,” declares Stephen Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center. One might think this a bold assertion, but the first recorded instance of whistleblowing happened even before our nation had written a constitution. Even without explicit first amendment protections in the newly independent United States, whistleblowers were backed and protected by members of Congress, viewed as patriots serving their country.


Continue Reading

Part of the “Quick Peek” Series, exploring the NEW edition of Stephen Kohn‘s Whistleblower’s Handbook.

One mental hurdle that prevents employees who want to blow the whistle from doing so “is a nagging doubt that they are powerless. Why blow the whistle if nothing will get better?” To many, it seems that the downside, including potentially losing one’s careers, outweighs an unclear benefit.  National Whistleblower Center Executive Director addresses this issue in the latest edition of his book, The New Whistleblower’s Handbook (Lyon’s Press, 2017).


Continue Reading

Today the National Whistleblower Center (NWC)  announced the release of The New Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself (Lyons Press 2017). This updated resource, authored by leading whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn, brings the most comprehensive and authoritative guide to exposing workplace wrongdoing up-to-date with new information on wildlife whistleblowing, auto safety whistleblowing, national security whistleblowing, and ocean pollution whistleblowing.
Continue Reading

Part of the “Quick Peek” Series, exploring the NEW edition of Stephen Kohn‘s Whistleblower’s Handbook.        

Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center and author of the Whistleblower’s Handbook, asserts that the history of whistleblower laws stems from an attempt to answer the question: “What to do if the boss is a crook?” Many employees see corrupt practices in the workplace but don’t report them because they fear retaliation. But thanks to the fifty-five federal laws protecting whistleblowers from that exact fate, employees are free to report illegal activity without the fear of being fired or other forms of workplace retaliation.


Continue Reading

Part of the “Quick Peek” Series, exploring the NEW edition of Stephen Kohn‘s Whistleblower’s Handbook.

Stephen Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center (NWC), underscores that “the single most important rule for whistleblowers is very simple: Follow the money.” Whistleblowing can be a long and difficult road, so before embarking on the journey potential whistleblowers should make sure they know the risk to reward scale is tipping to their favor. Nine federal laws require whistleblower compensation, and over $6.7 billion in rewards has been paid to whistleblowers between 1987 and 2016.
Continue Reading

In Nancy M. Modesitt’s recent research article “The Garcetti Virus,” she explains how a doctrine known as the job duties exclusion has come to erode protections once afforded to whistleblowers. She explains that this doctrine allows the discharge of an individual who discovers illegal activities while performing his or her job and then reports those issues to a supervisor. Although one might think the current whistleblower laws would protect such disclosures, Modesitt explains that is no longer the case.
Modesitt details how the the Federal Circuit created the job duties exclusion more than a decade ago in the case of Wills v. Department of Agriculture (1998). The case involved an employee in the Department of Agriculture who reported to his supervisor that a number of farms he had investigated were not complying with a government soil-protection program. The supervisor disagreed with the employee’s findings and overruled him on 6 of the 7 cases. The employee complained about the decision and later claimed that he was retaliated against for his comments. When the case was heard by the Federal Circuit, the court decided that the employees comments did not put him “at personal risk for the benefit of the public good.” As such, the court ruled that his comments could not “constitute a protected disclosure under the [Whistleblowers Protection Act (WPA)].” In later cases involving disclosures made by federal employees, the courts further limited the protection afforded to them for their whistleblower activities.


Continue Reading