Sunday Read: Our Growing Movement

This overview of growing support for whistleblowers was sent as part of NWC’s “Sunday Read” series that aims to educate supporters about whistleblower stories and whistleblower legislative or policy initiatives and current events. For more information like this, please join our mailing list.

On July 30, 2022, National Whistleblower Center celebrated National Whistleblower Day with hundreds of virtual viewers and we discovered that, in this 244th year since the first act to protect whistleblowers, support for whistleblowers and National Whistleblower Appreciation Day is growing.

This Sunday, we proudly outline the growing support for the recognition of National Whistleblower Day and encourage everyone to take more action to make National Whistleblower Day permanent.

The Senate Unanimously Passed National Whistleblower Day Resolution

On July 27, the United States Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution to recognize July 30th, 2022 as National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. The resolution was introduced by Senators Grassley and Wyden and Senator Grassley issued a press release stating ““Support for whistleblowers is something we can all get behind. It can and should unite every member of Congress who believes government needs to remain transparent and accountable to the people. This resolution renews our shared commitment to strengthen the nation’s whistleblower laws and protect whistleblowers when they speak up.” The resolution was supported by the entire Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus, and Senator Grassley’s statement on the Senate floor is available for viewing here. Senator Ron Johnson, also issued a statement on the floor, his remarks are available here.

Escambia County, FL, issues Proclamation Recognizing July 30th 2022 as National Whistleblower Day

Escambia County, Florida, issued a proclamation recognizing July 30th 2022, as National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. The proclamation states that:

Jackie Garrick Recieving National Whistleblower Appreciation Day Proclaimation from 3rd Disctrict Commissioner Lumon May in Escambia County Florida on July 19, 2022.

“in providing the proper authorities with lawful disclosures, whistleblowers save the taxpayers of the United States billions of dollars each year and serve the public interest by ensuring that the United States remains an ethical and safe place; and . . it is the public policy of Escambia County is to encourage, in accordance with all law, rules, and regulations and consistent with the protection of classified information (including sources and methods of detection of classified information), honest and good faith reporting of misconduct, fraud, misdemeanors, and other crimes to the appropriate authority at the earliest time possible”

And, that “whistleblowers risk their careers, jobs, and reputations by reporting waste, fraud, and abuse to the proper authorities” recognizing, Whistleblowers of America located in Pensacola, Florida which provides peer support and a trauma informed perspective and the Workplace Promise Institute annual conference which will be held on September 7–9, 2022.

Federal Whistleblower Jackie Garrick is the founder of Whistleblowers of America and leader of the Workplace Promise Institute and National Whistleblower Center Commends Jackie for being instrumental to Escambia Counties recognition of National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.

Federal Agencies Published Joint and Independent Supports

Several Federal Agencies issued formal statements to commemorate National Whistleblower Day in 2022:

  • The Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”), issued a statement in honor of National Whistleblower Day, from Gurbir S. Grewal, Director, Division of Enforcement, stating that the “SEC’s whistleblower program has played a critical role in the Division of Enforcement’s ability to effectively detect wrongdoing, protect investors and the marketplace, and bring violators to justice.” And that, “t is essential to the continued vitality of our program that whistleblowers know that we will take seriously any efforts to impede or retaliate against them.” The statement celebrates the incredible success of the program, stating that “[w]hile whistleblowers’ contributions to the SEC’s mission have been invaluable, we recognize that blowing the whistle may not come without costs, both personal and professional.” And, that “[w]ith the help of these whistleblowers, the SEC brought enforcement actions ordering monetary sanctions of approximately $5 billion.” The Commission closed by saying that “Whistleblower protections are a cornerstone of the SEC’s whistleblower program and we are committed to enforcing these protections to stop efforts to impede individuals from coming forward with information.”
  • The Department of Labor (“DOL”), published a “Know Your Rights” website, which outlines whistleblower stories, and refers visitors to National Whistleblower Center’s National Whistleblower Day celebration. Specifically, the agency states that “Under federal law, workers have the right to raise concerns if they believe their rights are being violated in the workplace.” And, provided links to its online resources. The agency goes on to say “we know that many workers are not protected by their employers when they speak up and need a place to turn if they’re punished, lose their job or are simply afraid to say something directly to their employer.” And chastised employers who retaliation against employees who blow the whistle saying that these employers “not only break the law but also create unsafe, unfair work environments.” Going on to state that “[a]cts of retaliation can include reducing pay or work hours, firing or suspending workers, discipline or demotion, harassment or intimidation, and blacklisting from future hiring.” And encouraging whistleblowers to contact the DOL, providing instructions for how to report concerns.
  • In the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) announcement, the agency stated that: “[t]he CFPB has welcomed whistleblower allegations since its inception and continues to take concrete steps to ensure that whistleblowers are supported and protected. More recently, [the CFPB] streamlined how tech workers can alert us to potential violations of federal consumer financial laws.” And, that “[I]n 2020, former CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger took the important step of engaging with Congress on a proposal for legislation that would similarly authorize the CFPB to award whistleblowers who report violations of Federal consumer financial law that lead to a successful enforcement action.” This actions critical and would harmonize the CFPB program with the incredibly successful SEC and CFTC programs.
  • The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issued a statement from the Forest Service, and described National Whistleblower Day as the reflection of the “bold vision of our Founding Fathers and their uncompromising support for whistleblowers.” And that, “The USDA Whistleblower Protection Coordinator is committed to educating USDA’s workforce about whistleblower retaliation and associated protections.” The statement ends with an announcement of two new whistleblower protection training modules available to USDA employees, and links to join National Whistleblower Center’s National Whistleblower Day celebration.

Some Federal Agencies Got Creative

The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”)issued a statement commemorating National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. The statement included remarks from the agency’s Inspector General, Sean W. O’Donnell, stating “It may just be a game, but when the whistle blows, play stops. The rules matter; they make a difference. When the flag is thrown, the red card is raised, or the strikes are called, we can trust that the game is being played fair and square.” And, “ commitment to whistleblower rights and to ensuring a safe and productive work environment for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board employees is unwavering.” The letter also includes information on how to report. The EPA also got creative in their celebration of National Whistleblower Day, and their statement includes an 11 minute podcast featuring Lori Hoffman and Lori Ruk of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General (“OIG”). The engaging conversation reviews the role of the EPA’s OIG, explains various violations EPA employees might report, and provides instructions for reporting. You can listen to this and other EPA podcasts here. Further, the EPA was the only agency to confidently reply to NWC’s request for information about their whistleblower program, and you can read their letter here.

Rather than issue a formal statement, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) published an educational “Whistleblower Appreciation Week” twitter campaign where it addressed questions like “What is a Whistleblower?” And providing information about reporting fraud waste and abuse without fear of appraisal, federal laws that protect whistleblowers, and whether whistleblowers need to “invoke whistleblower protections” before blowing the whistle. The creative and informative project reflects a serious investment in education employees about their right to blow the whistle, and NWC comments HHS for taking this innovative approach to celebrating whistleblowers. You can read the whole thread here.

The Social Security Administration {“SSA”) also engaged in a small social media campaign stating that “In celebration of National #Whistleblower Appreciation Day, over the next few days SSA OIG will be posting some fast facts, as well as a short guide on how whistleblowers can make a protected disclosure.” And on July 30th, the agency posted a tweet stating: “On July 30, 1778, America passed its first law protecting #whistleblowers. On July 30th we recognize National #Whistleblower Appreciation Day!” This was an important step to publicly recognize whistleblowers, and we encourage you to like and share those posts.

The Small Business Administration (“SBA”) OIG, also engaged in a social media campaign, including Whistleblower Facts like: “Whistleblower disclosure can save lives and billions of taxpayer dollars.” And directing people with concerns to the agency’s office responsible for receiving whistleblower complaints. Visit the SBA OIG twitter page for more tweets commemorating whistleblowers, this was an important step to publicly recognize whistleblowers, and we encourage you to like and share those posts.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (“DNI”) also took to social media to commemorate National Whistleblower Appreciation Day:

DNI posted a tweet on July 31, directing followers to visit the agency’s whistleblower protection info page, which includes a statement from Avril D. Haines, Director of National Intelligence, which states “As intelligence professionals, we are committed to certain fundamental ethical principles, including truth, courage, and integrity.” and that “When done lawfully, whistleblowing upholds our values and ensures that our exceptional mission is not above the law.” Specifically, Director Haines states that “Lawful whistleblowing is a public service — it helps us fix problems while protecting national security information and promotes public confidence in the critical work that we do to keep our nation safe.” This statemet, the whistleblower resource page, and the DNI tweet are important steps to publicly recognize whistleblowers, and we commend Director Haines and the entired ODNI for these efforts.

There is Momentum to Make National Whistleblower Day Permanent

This Sunday Read outlines the ever increasing governmental support for recognizing National Whistleblower Appreciation Day on July 30th. This incredible momentum is reflected in official statements, proclamations, and creative projects like social media campaigns and podcasts. National Whistleblower celebrates these actions to support whistleblowers and National Whistleblower Day and commends, the Senate, Escambia County, OPM, the SEC, DOL, CFPB, USDA, EPA, HHS, SSA, SBA, and DNI, for their commitment to whistleblowers and their efforts to commemorate National Whistleblower Appreciation Day 2022.

Take Action Today

Please join National Whistleblower Center in calling for the U.S. Federal Government to recognize National Whistleblower Day as a Federal Day of Observance. Take action today and let Congress and President Biden know how many people want our annual celebration to be made permanent!

National Whistleblower Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and our continued work to recognize whistleblowers is driven by your generous donations. Please consider giving today, and share this informative e-mail to your friends to make sure they know how popular celebrating whistleblowers has become today.

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National Whistleblower Center

National Whistleblower Center is the leading nonprofit working with whistleblowers around the world to fight corruption and protect people and the environment.