Police corruption in New York. The Watergate scandal that led to the downfall of President Nixon. The Enron and WorldCom scandals seeped in financial fraud and accounting irregularities. These are all historical matters exposed by government or corporate whistleblowers.
A whistleblower stands up to corruption and illegal behavior. They are typically employees who observe and report suspicious, unethical and illegal behavior in their workplaces. They see this wrongful activity up close or from a distance and refuse to cave into peer pressure to engage in this activity.
Embezzlement, fraud and accounting irregularities
The above-mentioned infamous cases represent just a fraction of what whistleblowers have reported through the centuries. The types of situations that whistleblowers report run the gamut. They may include:
- Criminal behavior such as embezzlement, bribery, false claims in marketing and insider trading
- Discrimination, racial, gender, religious and age
- Fraud including Medicare and Medicaid fraud, corruption, payroll and tax fraud
- Sexual harassment by employers and employees
- Racial discrimination, leading to demotions, terminations, unfair treatment, poor assignments and poor assignments
- Accounting irregularities and illegal accounting practices
- Pollution, caused by mismanagement and leading to environmental problems and tainted water
Such crimes leave a significant financial pinch on taxpayers, company shareholders and the government.
Many employees fear retaliation for becoming whistleblowers. But remember that whistleblowers are protected by federal law. It requires courage to be one. Anyone in this situation understands the dilemma he or she faces, but whistleblowers must be applauded for overcoming their fears of becoming a pariah among their peers and termination by their employers. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate.