The United States has strong legal protections for whistleblowers who want to shield their identity and become confidential informants.
The best way to protect your confidentiality is to file a whistleblower claim under a law that provides for strict protection for confidentiality.
The best laws are as follows:
Dodd-Frank Act, which includes securities fraud, commodity fraud, and bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. By law the SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission must maintain the confidentiality of whistleblowers who request such protection. Also, these laws permit anonymous filings.
The IRS tax whistleblower law covers tax frauds, tax underpayments, most money laundering and other laws investigated by the IRS criminal division does not permit anonymous filings. However, the IRS must protect the confidentiality of whistleblowers to the fullest extent permitted under law. Thus, this program has developed an excellent reputation for protecting the confidentiality of whistleblowers.
The False Claims Act permits a whistleblower to file his or her original complaint without revealing his/her identity to an employer. However, after the government concludes its investigation, in most cases, the complaint is made public.
Federal employees also can follow rules for confidentiality under the Inspector General Act and other laws.
Disclosing the identity of a whistleblower or confidential informant could constitute an obstruction of justice, see 18 U.S.C. § 1513(e).
Disclosures under the Whistleblower Protection Act to the Office of Special Counsel pursuant to 5 U.S.C § 1213(h).
Courts have found that breaching an employee’s right to confidentiality can constitute an adverse action.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that revealing the identity of a confidential whistleblower would constitute an adverse personnel action, giving rise to damages. The Court reasoned as follows: “it is inevitable that such a disclosure [of the whistleblower’s identity] would result in ostracism, and, unsurprisingly, that is exactly what happened to [the whistleblower] following the disclosure.” The Court went on to explain: “no one volunteers for the role of social pariah.” See, Halliburton v. Administrative Review Board, 771 F.3d 254 (5th Cir. 2014)(emphasis added).
The SEC has issued sanctions against companies for taking steps to identify a confidential whistleblower.
A large number of federal courts have issued decisions recognizing the right to anonymity.
Whistleblowers should seek and obtain confidential informant status whenever that is available.