Whistleblower Retaliation

Whistleblower laws are so under-the-radar in the UK that most people don’t know they exist. At the same time, whistleblower retaliation is rampant. The public officials designated to help whistleblowers don’t understand the laws or their roles in enforcing them “leading to confusion, mistrust on both sides and allowing crimes and other wrongdoing to escape scrutiny.”

That has to change, according to a new report from a British Parliament panel on whistleblower laws.

This report shines a light on a culture that too often supports the covering up of wrongdoing and the penalising of whistleblowers. With increasing focus on organisational culture and new global laws and regulations to support transparency and whistleblowers, the UK needs a comprehensive, transparent and accessible framework and an organisation that will support whistleblowers and whistleblowing.
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Some might see whistleblowers as lucky lottery winners when their multimillion-dollar rewards come through. But, the title of the piece in the February 4 issue of The New Yorker reflects the other side of the story: “The Personal Toll of Whistleblowing”

“Whistleblowers are usually, but not always, employees or members of the group on which they’re blowing the whistle; after they do so, their lives are never the same,” writes Sheelah Kolhatkar. She joined The New Yorker in 2016 after a writing about Wall Street and financial crime for Bloomberg Businessweek.

“Institutional denial, obfuscation, and retaliation are hallmarks of many whistle-blowing cases,” she writes.

new york whistleblower artKolhatkar runs through a list of notable whistleblowers, including New York City police officer Frank Serpico, tobacco company whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand; Sherron Watkins of Enron; and National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. That they were all portrayed in Hollywood films is no surprise. Whistleblower tales are often David versus Goliath dramas.


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Danske-Bank-Whistleblower-Howard-Wilkinson. <br>Source: www.kkc.com
Danske Bank Whistleblower Howard Wilkinson. Source: www.kkc.com

Washington, D.C. October 24, 2018. Attorneys for the Danske Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson announced that he will testify before both the Danish and European Parliaments.  Wilkinson is the former British trader from Danske Bank’s Estonia office who uncovered a massive money-laundering scandal involving billions of dollars flowing out of Russia and other former Soviet states. 
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State-Police-Car-Law-EnforcementOn October 3, 2018, the National Whistleblower Center (“NWC”)  filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Brandon Eller, an Idaho State Police (“ISP”) detective who blew the whistle on the cover-up of another deputy’s dangerous actions. While Eller received a jury reward for his actions, he has been denied funds for the emotional damages that he suffered as a direct result of ISP’s retaliatory actions.
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Danske-Bank-BuildingWashington, D.C. September 27, 2018. On September 26, 2018, an Estonian newspaper identified Howard Wilkinson as the Danske Bank whistleblower. Mr. Wilkinson is a former Danske Bank employee who confidentially raised concerns over an illegal money laundering scheme in 2013. Last week news reports on the $234 billion scandal revealed the existence of a whistleblower but not the identity.
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Corporate whistleblower protection “undermined” if internal complaints not protected.

Washington, D.C. June 26, 2017.  The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari today in the case of Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers, Paul.  The Court will decide the issue of whether internal reports to managers are covered under the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation law.
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October 12, 2016. Washington, D.C. Monday, the National Whistleblower Center and FBI whistleblowers Fred Whitehurst, Jane Turner, Mike German and Robert Kobus (Amici) filed an amicus curiae brief in a case before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The brief was filed in Parkinson v. Department of Justice in support of John C. Parkinson, a former FBI special agent and Iraq war veteran.
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Washington, D.C. September 28, 2016. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez vowed a “Top-to-Bottom” review of whistleblower complaints filed by Wells Fargo employees over the last six years. Sec. Perez made this promise in response to a request last week by several Senators, including Senator Elisabeth Warren, for the Department of Labor (DOL) to investigate whether Wells Fargo violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
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