Almost anyone can be a whistleblower. Many whistleblowers tend to be employees for the organization committing the wrongdoing or crime. The biggest requirement is that an individual must have information that exposes an organization’s fraudulent behavior or illegal activities.
Whistleblowers can receive significant compensation, but risk retaliation from the organization committing the wrongdoing. Often, whistleblowers are protected by the government from retaliation. The government offers specific programs to compensate and protect whistleblowers:
- Federal False Claims Act
- SEC Whistleblower Program
- CFTC Whistleblower Program
- IRS Whistleblower Program
- Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Program
- Banking Whistleblower Programs
- Wildlife Crimes & Environment
- Other Key Whistleblower Programs
Some programs require whistleblowers to file a complaint with a federal agency, some require whistleblowers to sue on behalf of the government. Some programs also allow whistleblowers to file a complaint unanimously. The programs are complex, overlap and differ in their requirements. An experienced attorney can navigate these programs, identify the one or more that are applicable and ensure that the program’s requirements are satisfied.