I heard a rumor the other day that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was signed into law on July 21, 2010, contains information about a little something called the Whistleblower Protection Program.
Because I'm a nice person, I decided to peruse the text of this Act and find out just what was going on so I could pass the information on to you. Several hours and many traumatized brain cells later, I located the description. (I appreciate the thoroughness of Senator Dodd and Congressman Frank, but holy cow.)
Although the specific parameters are still being studied, the gist of the deal is this: The SEC is trying to make it easier (through financial motivation) for employees in the financial sector to report evidence of malfeasance and fraud in their companies.
Committee members are still deciding on what level of reward will be best. They want to entice whistleblowers but they don't want the reward to be so high that they encourage illegitimate claims. The standard of evidence of each claim is going to be very high as well and must match the violation of specific federal laws. In other words, don't expect to cash in big because you saw your boss take a stapler home for his personal use.
I wonder if the architects of the new law took into consideration what effect whistleblowing has on a person's future earning potential when deciding the amount of reward. Not that you'd have to put whistleblowing on your resume, right after "in-depth knowledge of Microsoft Exchange," but if the company is big enough, your name could hit the media, ala Jeffrey Wigand, and kind of put a damper on your future employment.
So let's take an informal poll and see where you guys stand on the issue of whistleblowing:
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.