Cautiously. The U.S. government and a variety of offices publish numerous FAQs for whistleblowers. These can be extremely helpful, but they do not have the force and effect of law. No court or agency is required to follow a government whistleblower FAQ. Also, FAQs are not legal authority.
Government FAQs usually do not fully explain the strategic choices available to whistleblowers. They often contain information limited to the specific laws under the jurisdiction of the agency. Given the numerous state/federal laws, whistleblowers need to be cautious that FAQs do not provide a full picture of rights or remedies available, or the best strategic approaches.
What can place my identity at risk of exposure?
To protect your identity and confidentiality, do not use any devices owned by the company or the government to blow the whistle. For example, do not use a company or government-issued technology, including phones, computers, or wireless networks. The U.S. Supreme Court permits highly intrusive surveillance through corporate-owned property regardless if that property is given an employee to use in a personal capacity.
The best way to protect your confidentiality is to work with a whistleblower attorney. The attorney-client privilege protects the conversations you have with your attorney.
Do government FAQs inform whistleblowers of their rights to collect rewards?
Some agencies (SEC, CFTC and IRS) have FAQs that explain their reward provisions, but these are generally narrowly tailored to discuss the laws in the jurisdiction of that agency. Also, whistleblowers may be entitled to a reward under more than one reward law. Unfortunately, many government agencies do not explain the whistleblower rewards that may be available through other agencies. For example, EPA FAQs explain violations of EPA rules, but they may fail to inform that rewards could be available under different laws.
Should I review government FAQs?
Yes, reviewing FAQs on government websites is a good starting point in learning your rights as a whistleblower. However, you must understand they are not complete, and they do not explain all of your options.
Yes, some government FAQs fail to identify which are the best whistleblower laws to protect you.
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Your communications are secured and sent over 256-bit SSL encryption. Protect your identity and confidentiality, do not use any devices owned or controlled by a private corporation or governmental entity. It is also recommended to protect your online identity by establishing a new email account that does not identify you and to avoid the use of other online platforms that may disclose your identity.
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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. All information submitted in the client intake form or in email from anyone seeking legal assistance is considered covered under the attorney client and work product privileges to the fullest extent of the law. While we treat your information as confidential, a lawyer-client relationship is created only by express written agreement signed by both you and Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto.