The number of whistleblowers facing retaliation is rising

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2024 | Whistleblowers

The number of whistleblowers facing retaliation is on the rise, highlighting the challenges people face when speaking out against wrongdoing. As whistleblowers expose misconduct, corruption or unethical behavior, they often face adverse consequences.

Despite legal protections in place to safeguard whistleblowers, retaliation is an ongoing issue. As a result, it deters many from speaking out. It also undermines efforts to promote transparency and accountability.

Whistleblower challenges

Whistleblowers confront many challenges when they disclose information about wrongdoing or misconduct. Despite their intentions, whistleblowers often experience retaliation from employers or colleagues. Retaliation can take various forms, including harassment, ostracism, demotion or termination. It can also create a hostile work environment and cause emotional distress. Fear of retaliation can deter people from coming forward with valuable information. In doing so, it can perpetuate a culture of silence, allowing misconduct to persist.

Legal protections and remedies

Whistleblowers have various laws and regulations protecting them. However, enforcing these protections can be challenging. Several laws seek to safeguard whistleblowers from retaliation. The Whistleblower Protection Act, Sarbanes-Oxley Act and False Claims Act are among them. However, navigating the legal process and proving retaliation can be complex and time-consuming. Despite legal protections, many whistleblowers continue to face retaliation. This underscores the need for stronger enforcement mechanisms. It also spotlights a need for cultural changes to prevent reprisals.

The National Law Review reports that 23% of whistleblowers faced retaliation in 2020. In 2021, 24% of whistleblowers said the same. By addressing retaliation, organizations can strengthen integrity, trust and accountability within their ranks.