Is Whistleblowing Worth the Trouble?

Whistleblowers – people who report unethical or illegal activity within an organization – are necessary to keep corruption out of the companies they work for. Recent news cycles have brought the word to my attention more so than usual, so I decided to do some research to better understand how whistleblowers are protected under the law.

Whistleblowers are important in keeping not only safe work environments but safe societies, as well. If companies or government entities were allowed to get away with whatever they wanted, we would live in a more dangerous society. But, because their testimonies can be so devastating for the governments or companies they work for, whistleblowers are often threatened with retaliation. They could be fired. That’s why legal protections exist so people can continue to bring corruption to light.

Some whistleblowers, however, may run into even more problems than they normally would if they revealed confidential information that could hurt a third party (for instance, a patient’s medical records). There are a lot of nuances and narrow paths to tread, which is why it is always a big deal when a whistleblower does come forward.

How It’s Done

There are two types of whistleblowing:

  1. Private sector
    1. If the company is in the private sector, meaning they’re not under direct governmental control, the whistleblower may be in more danger of losing their job, their safety, or their ability to generate income if they come forward with their information. 
  2. Public sector
    1. In the public sector, such as local governments or even the White House, there may be chances of the whistleblower facing criminal charges, depending on the severity of the information they reveal.

A whistleblower may choose to reveal their testimony within the organization they work for, or they may give it over to a third party, such as a news channel or a blog, to make it public. The latter is the kind of whistleblowing the general public is most aware of because the entire scandal is revealed from the start. When the whistleblower keeps their testimony within the organization, the public might not find out about the corruption until after decisions have been made or people have been fired. 

One thing that was made abundantly clear to me during my research is that a whistleblower always needs a good attorney. Whistleblowers are under a lot of pressure, and many are threatened or fired over their testimonies. As Austin-based whistleblower attorney’s office, Melton Law Firm, states, not all workers are protected under the same whistleblower laws, and people who are considering whistleblowing should do their best to understand their rights first. Even so, a lawyer may be able to help someone get compensated for lost income if they have already been fired for exposing corruption.

Tackling the Important Stuff Early

No matter the industry I study or research, it seems that taking care of business as soon as possible is a universal truth. Seriously, whether you are an international, Fortune 500 conglomerate or a small, “mom and pop” shop in your local town, business experts recommend that a company takes care of potentially impactful business as soon as possible.

However, the need for efficiency and timeliness manifests differently dependent upon a company’s particular context. For example, if you are a smaller company, the need to be timely might be because if a particular issue is ignored, customers will leave.

But for other businesses, the need for a quick response to an issue could result from sincere legal concerns. One example could be to respond to a lawsuit quickly, in order to prevent being forced by a judge to pay a hefty fine. Or another example: responding to letters from the Internal Revenue Service about a tax controversy.

According to the THEVOZ Attorneys, LLC, the Internal Revenue Service will send letters to your business if the agency finds a discrepancy or problem in your tax filings. These letters do not mean that the agency’s findings are correct, it is merely a warning to review their potential finding and react in some way.

Some businesses will immediately see that the Internal Revenue Service’s claim is incorrect. The next step would be to hire a qualified tax lawyer. This legal counsel, from places such as THEVOZ Attorneys, could then work with the accounting and financial records of your team to file a response to the initial IRS examination.

For many businesses, the problem could stop there; the Internal Revenue Service could see their error and end the process. However, for many others, the process could require an appeal. Again, a qualified tax lawyer will be your best bet in filing a response to the IRS Office of Appeals.

As you can imagine, the United States tax code is a pretty complex set of rules and regulations. Like it or not, the tax code was not designed so that the average layman can read it and be able to navigate the legal headache whilst still running a business.

And even if your business is large enough that you can delegate out matters and solely focus on figuring out the process of an appeal or response, it is simply not in your company’s best interest to be hard-headed. Hire an attorney that knows what they are doing with the IRS examination process that could include:

  • An initial examination or audit letter from the IRS
  • A response to the IRS from your company
  • A rejection or approval from the IRS
  • An appeal to the IRS Office of Appeals from your company, if applicable

Does that sound like it is difficult to navigate? That is because the IRS is a bureaucratic machine that could swallow up your company without hesitation. Play it safe and use professionals to handle your IRS tax issue.

“Let Us Fight for You!” – An Invitation You Might Find Worthy Responding To

Unfortunately, applying for and receiving Social Security benefits can often be a long, complicated process, and many individuals, who badly need these benefits often have their initial claim denied. For this reason, legal assistance is often crucial in helping disabled individuals get the help they need.”

To help individuals in their claim, Social Security Disability lawyers call out to them with the invitation, “Let us fight for you!” This invitation is regardless of the Social Security program individuals need to apply into to obtain benefits.

One such program is the SS Long-term Disability Benefits, through which the Social Security Administration (SSA) grants cash benefits to eligible individuals suffering from total permanent disability. This disability should be total or permanent, which will render a person unable to perform any type of work, including the one that he/she had before being disabled, and which can either last for more than a year or result in death.

The SSA has an impairment listing manual, more familiarly known as the “blue book,” which contains serious types of disabilities. If a member’s disability is included in this listing, then he/she may automatically qualify for the SSDI cash benefits. Any impairment that is also serious, but is not included in the list, may still qualify a member to receive the cash benefits. Thus, a migraine headache, for example, that is too severe so that it becomes impossible for an individual to have a full-time job is also very likely to be determined by the SSA as a qualifying disabling condition.

Additionally, children or those below 18 years old, who have limited income and resources and whose disability has resulted in severe functional limitations may be able to apply for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits (the Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI disability benefits may be availed of only by employees/workers who have earned the number of credits that the SSA requires. These credits can be earned through the monthly payment of Social Security taxes. This payment is reflected in employees’ pay slip under the heading “FICA,” for Federal Insurance Contributions Act).