Whistleblowers played a public role in uncovering the recent consumer banking fraud at wells fargo that resulted in a $185 million fine. But, the Wells Fargo employees were allegedly fired for whistleblowing. Assistant Professor David Kwok, with The UH Law Center, has done research on the role of whistleblowers and what protections they have.
“There are many federal laws protecting whistleblowers, but you first have to qualify,” Kwok said. “At a minimum, a whistleblower should report wrongdoing to a government enforcement agency. Telling only the news media, for example, is not sufficient.”
Assistant Professor Kwok discussed how a whistleblower can qualify for protection and what can be expected from the government.
“In serious cases, the government may actually sue the former employer on the whistleblower’s behalf,” Kwok stated. “Courts may award whistleblowers backpay, reinstatement, or other damages related to the retaliation.”