The New Whistleblower's Handbook (Paperback)

Stephen Kohn


An updated edition of the first-ever consumer guide to whistleblowing by the nation's leading whistleblower attorney The newest edition of The Whistleblower's Handbook 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. It also includes a new "Toolkit" for international whistleblowers. This essential guide explains nearly all federal and state laws regarding whistleblowing, and in the step-by-step bulk of the book, presents more than twenty must-follow rules for whistleblowers-from finding the best federal and state laws to the dangers of blindly trusting internal corporate "hotlines" to obtaining the proof you need to win the case.

Product Details

  • Product code: AZOBZ
  • ISBN: 9781493028818
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
  • Format: Paperback
  • Dimensions: 22.2cm x 20.4cm
  • Pages: 568
  • Publish date: Mon May 01 00:00:00 BST 2017
  • Book points: 15

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The whistleblower's best friend: Sound advice -

Steadily, over the past 20 years, whistleblowing has become among the most effective ways to expose corruption, fraud, abuse of authority and other misconduct by business interests and politicians. It's also proven to be a powerful tool to reveal public health threats that imperil our food, water, air and environment. Under one US program alone, whistleblowers have received $6.4 billion in rewards for helping regulators recover $37.7 billion in penalties and stolen public funds since 1986. Not only in the US, but in many countries such as Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, Serbia, South Korea and UK, disclosures have soared thanks to new whistleblower policies and procedures. At the same time, many US laws now apply to international cases. People living or working anywhere in the world can now report wrongdoing and public health dangers, while being eligible for awards. But even as the number of people coming forward with critical information rises, and as more whistleblower protection laws are passed -- now totaling more than 45 worldwide -- the amount of advice and assistance for employees and citizens has not kept pace. Helping to close this gap by providing essential information to whistleblowers is The New Whistleblower's Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What's Right and Protecting Yourself. Author Stephen Kohn is the executive director of the National Whistleblower Center and a partner with Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto in Washington, DC. Kohn has worked almost exclusively on whistleblower cases for more than 30 years, while also helping to shape many US whistleblower policies including the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank acts, and laws covering federal employees and income tax evasion. Among the many high-profile cases he's won is the record-setting $104 million award received by Bradley Birkenfeld in 2012. After Birkenfeld exposed a massive tax evasion scheme orchestrated by UBS bank in Switzerland, US regulators have collected more than $15 billion from tax cheats -- with potentially more much more to come. Kohn writes that the book is meant to help "honest employees anywhere in the world who need to know the rules for whistleblowing, how to qualify for a whistleblower award, and how to protect themselves from the retaliation that often follows an honest report of wrongdoing." By patiently explaining laws, procedures, pitfalls and groundbreaking cases, the book provides time-tested insights on how to "not only blow the whistle but also how to win." The Whistleblower's Handbook is presented in the form of "Rules." This is a way of saying that if you don't carefully follow the advice, your chances of losing your case -- and perhaps your job, career and financial security along with it -- could go up significantly. Kohn rightly notes than whistleblower laws "are confusing, and many are riddled with loopholes." In plainspoken language, Kohn explains every major whistleblower US law, as well as many lesser-known provisions. He describes how each law can be used by employees to: - expose crime, abuses and public health threats, - kickstart investigations and deter future wrongdoing, - be protected from workplace retaliation, - be compensated for lost wages and other losses, and - in some cases receive financial awards if regulators recover fines, penalties, stolen funds and/or ill-gotten gains. Among the many major cases settled in 2018 alone was a $77 million penalty against Credit Suisse for illegal bribery payments, $75 million paid to whistleblowers who exposed illegal manipulation of foreign currency exchanges and other violations, and $40 million in sanctions against a UK cruise ship for polluting the ocean, in which the whistleblower was awarded $1 million. Whistleblower provisions embedded in the US Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank laws are well recognized around the world. Unbeknownst to much of the public, however, US laws cover not only corporate crime, but also tax evasion, government contracting fraud, bribing of foreign officials, ocean pollution, motor vehicle safety, wildlife trafficking, banking fraud, commodities trading, and threats to fish and wildlife including endangered species. Moreover, most people also are unaware that they could collect awards under each of these laws, under certain circumstances. At least 11 US laws, in fact, now allow whistleblowers to collect awards -- typically from 10 to 30 percent of what regulators themselves collect. It's important to understand -- particularly for critics of such awards -- that these are not paid from existing government budgets or taxpayer funds. They are a portion of funds that regulators would not have collected without the assistance of whistleblowers. This is "found money," of which brave employees who risk their career, financial and often personal well-being receive a reasonable portion. Beyond detailing new laws, recent cases and other key developments in the field, Kohn also explores perhaps the most important trend for advancing whistleblower rights worldwide. Very few citizens know -- and unfortunately, very few whistleblower advocates and attorneys know -- that at least 10 US whistleblower laws now have global reach. This means that regardless of the country where they live or are based, employees can use these laws to report wrongdoing and public health threats, and potentially be rewarded for coming forward with information. Skeptics of whistleblower awards also should be aware that the US enjoys high levels of judicial integrity, rule of law and other democratic indicators that many other counties do not match. As swiftly and decisively as a whistleblower can suffer ruin in the US, this can happen even quicker in countries where political and business elites are less shy at inflicting retribution. Elites also can destroy an employee's career with much higher levels of impunity. In such environments, awards can serve as an essential compensation mechanism for victimized whistleblowers who lose their livelihood through blacklisting, character assassination and other tactics. These US laws thus provide employees with a triple-whammy against wrongdoers: (1) opportunities to report misconduct, (2) coverage for employees living or working in countries other than the US, and (3) whistleblower awards in certain circumstances: - False Claims Act: fraud in government contracting or other frauds that cause financial losses to the US federal government - Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: bribery of foreign officials, typically to obtain contracts and favorable regulatory decisions - Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Whistleblower Office: tax fraud, evasion and underpayment, and other violations of the Internal Revenue Code - Securities Exchange Act: false financial reporting and other fraud by publicly traded companies, including provisions in the Sarbanas-Oxley and Dodd-Frank laws - Commodity Exchange Act: fraud in the trading of oil, food, electricity, gold and other commodities - Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act: covers safety violations by vehicle manufacturers, part suppliers and dealers, and other federal vehicle-safety laws - Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships: dumping of oil, garbage, plastics, and water and air pollutants by US-flagged ships anywhere in the world, and foreign-flagged ships in US waters and ports - Lacey Act: trafficking of animals, fish and plants that have been illegally taken, transported or sold. - Endangered Species Act: violations of measures to protect animal or plant species listed as endangered or threatened; also trafficking in protected species - Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act: violations of laws administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service The book offers practical, detailed advice not only for whistleblowers but also for legal professionals and advocates who assist them. Among Kohn's do's and don'ts: - Make sure your disclosure is protected by law before talking to anyone, even your boss: "Most employees do not utilize common sense before making a disclosure." - Beware of hotlines: "These programs are inherently conflicted. They empower the fox to police the chickens." - Don't talk to company lawyers and other company officers: "The company may use your own words against you and actually try to blame you for the problems you report." - Don't break the law: for example, do not illegally tape conversations, do not remove documents from work before speaking with a lawyer, and do not destroy evidence. - Be prepared for the lid to blow: ask yourself, "What evidence do I have to support my allegations?" "Am I prepared for a fight?" "Does my family support me?" "Do the benefits outweigh the costs?" "Is there anything in my background that my employer can use to smear me?"

Mark Worth , Wed Aug 22 14:20:21 BST 2018

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