National Whistleblower Day: Honoring Courage and Promoting Accountability

May 26, 2023

Fourth of July celebrates the independence of our nation, but right around the corner on July 30th is National Whistleblower Day, an obscure date echoing the ironic anonymity of some of its greatest heroes.  National Whistleblower Day, also known as Whistleblower Appreciation Day, is an annual celebration that seeks to honor and recognize and appreciate individuals who expose wrongdoing for the public good, sometimes at great expense and sacrifice to their lives and careers, but other times potentially with great rewards.  Billions of dollars in whistleblower awards have gone to individuals who blew the whistle the right way over the last decade and with billions more to come, certainly other courageous individuals will step forward and disclose matters that impact public safety addressed through the NHTSA whistleblower statute, securities violations addressed through the SEC whistleblower program, Medicare Fraud, Medicaid Fraud, Pharmaceutical Fraud and Defense Contractor Fraud through the False Claims Act to name a few qui tam statutes whistleblowers invoke.  

This significant observance, held on a fixed date every year, serves to highlight the importance of whistleblowers in promoting transparency, accountability, and justice. You may not have heard of it, just like you may not know a lot of the famous whistleblowers names, but they have saved lives, kept financial institutions in check and saved the taxpayers billions of dollars in combatting fraud.  While saluting whistleblowers,  we will explore the essence of National Whistleblower Day and the profound significance it holds. Additionally, we will delve into the role of whistleblower lawyers in safeguarding the rights of these brave individuals and advancing their qui tam cases in a methodical way, while sharing the risk and rewards.

National Whistleblower Day

Understanding National Whistleblower Day 

The United States passed a resolution to celebrate the inaugural National Whistleblower Day on July 30, 2013. Since then, it has been observed annually to honor whistleblowers and raise awareness about their important role in promoting accountability, transparency, and integrity in various sectors. National Whistleblower Day, also referred to as Whistleblower Appreciation Day, is a dedicated occasion that honors individuals who risk their personal and professional well-being to expose illegal or unethical practices within organizations. This day raises awareness about the invaluable contributions of whistleblowers in safeguarding the public interest and promoting a culture of accountability. By shedding light on corruption, fraud, safety violations, environmental abuses, and other misconduct, whistleblowers play a crucial role in shaping a fair and just society.  Some whistleblowers are well incentivized to blow the whistle through the mechanisms in the statutes that enable them to recover a percentage of what the government recovers.  Others just do it out of purpose and justice and generally a blend of the components can lead to action. 

Date of National Whistleblower Day – July 30th

National Whistleblower Day is celebrated annually on July 30th. July 30th was chosen as National Whistleblower Appreciation Day because it commemorates the passage of the very first framework for a U.S. whistleblower law, which was passed on July 30, 1778. Even though the term whistleblower had not been coined yet (not until the 1970s),  during the inception of the United States a conceptual whistleblower case involved complaints about a Continental Navy commander who allegedly tortured British prisoners. Individuals who complained were jailed because the commander retaliated against them. Two of the jailed individuals who ironically pointed out that the commander was acting like the monarch that they were recently liberated from petitioned Congress who provided redress to the situation.  Retrospectively, this was viewed as the first notable whistleblower event in United States History and this day evolved to honor whistleblowers from various fields who have stand against injustice and wrongdoing, and it has become an occasion to advocate for stronger whistleblower protections.

The Significance of National Whistleblower Day 

National Whistleblower Appreciation Day secretly and symbolically holds a great impact as a deification of those who brave to do what’s right when the wave of silence sometimes seems suffocating. It serves as a platform to recognize the courage and sacrifice of whistleblowers, appreciating their role in exposing wrongdoing and promoting accountability. By celebrating this day, we not only acknowledge the invaluable contributions of whistleblowers but also raise public awareness about the need for robust whistleblower protection laws.

Whistleblowers are instrumental in maintaining a fair and transparent society. Their actions serve as catalysts for change, prompting investigations, legal actions, and policy reforms. By exposing fraud, corruption, safety violations, environmental hazards, and other forms of misconduct, whistleblowers protect the public interest and prevent harm to individuals, communities, and the environment. National Whistleblower Day highlights their selflessness and encourages others to step forward and report wrongdoing.

The Role of Whistleblower Lawyers 

Whistleblower lawyers play a crucial role in safeguarding the rights of whistleblowers and advocating for their interests. A whistleblower law firm will focus on protecting whistleblowers and providing guidance, legal representation, and support to individuals who come forward to report misconduct. The whistleblower attorney needs to dedicate a portion, if not all, of their practice to serving this niche area of law, because there are many labyrinthine statutes to invoke, and the right one needs to be utilized in the right way to maximize the chance for a whistleblower award. 

One key function of whistleblower lawyers is to ensure that whistleblowers are shielded from retaliation. They help whistleblowers understand their rights and provide assistance in navigating the reporting process.  Some statutes entitle individuals to have anonymity through the use of a whistleblower law firm, like the SEC whistleblower program, NHTSA whistleblower program, CFTC  whistleblower program and AML whistleblower program to name a few, while others require the use of qui tam counsel to file the case like the False Claims act which upon initially filing can keep the relator’s identity concealed while the investigation is underway. Whistleblower lawyers also work to ensure that the disclosures made by whistleblowers are packaged tightly and handled appropriately as the federal government workers in many of these cases are overworked and look to interface with qui tam law firms that can succinctly present the facts and the law and understand how the system works.  Firms that have former Department of Justice officials, especially FBI Special Agents, FBI Legal Advisors or United States Attorneys are highly coveted since they can help streamline the process by knowing precisely what the government needs to ingest to obtain the best possible result.   

Although it may not be apparent, whistleblower lawyers play a critical role in advocating for stronger whistleblower protection laws. Protecting whistleblowers is a bipartisan issue and when presented in the right manner, improvements in the statute are a win-win as routing out the bad apples, makes the remaining ones that much more essential.  

Whistleblower lawyers also play a vital role in ensuring that whistleblowers receive the appropriate financial whistleblower rewards if eligible and full protections available to them. With many statutes they  can obtain a percentage of the recovered funds in cases such as cases involving fraud against the government with the use of the False Claims Act or securities violations with the SEC whistleblower program.   

National Whistleblower Appreciation Day – A Day to Remember for Those Whose Names are Forgotten

National Whistleblower Appreciation Day serves as a reminder of the invaluable contributions whistleblowers make in promoting transparency, accountability, and justice.  Even though, deliberately at times, their identifies are obscured, their contributions to society are not, and through their courage and perseverance serving the greater good enhances societal values and helps protect our safety and economics.  So on July 30th, take a moment and reflect on what whistleblowers have done, what they can do, what a whistleblower law firm can do for you, and know that the person you’re standing next to may anonymously be the one that is blowing the whistle which somehow leads to a better future for us all.