Whistleblower Study Tackles Disclosure, Retaliation

A new study seeks the answer to the question of whether it will be considered retaliation if a whistleblower’s identity and actions become the subject of a widely distributed e-mail.

ScienceDaily reports that the study conducted by two professors from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business sought to find whether the public disclosure in an email of the whistleblower’s identity is sufficient to support a claim of retaliation. The paper will be published in the North Carolina Law Review.

The law states that whistleblowers are protected from direct reprisals in the workplace, such as discrimination, writes ScienceDaily. However, the study’s lead author, Jamie Prenkert, an associate professor of business law at the Kelley School of Business Bloomington, states that just the possibility of being publicly identified as a complainant makes the prospective whistleblower wary of filing a complaint. He added that there isn’t much clarity in the current laws about whether the use of instant forms of communication such as an email constitutes retaliation.

The study suggests that while public disclosure such as an email may inhibit a whistleblower, a standard of “appropriate disclosure” is needed to balance the interests of employers for transparency and communication while recognizing the legal rights of the whistleblower.

If you or someone you know has information about practices that are defrauding the government, contact Sokolove Law today for a free and confidential legal consultation about a whistleblower lawsuit.

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