According to an article in today’s New York Times, British banking whistleblowers “are being gagged and risk ending up broke and unemployed” despite whistleblower protections created since the financial crisis. For this reason, there is some movement in England to expand these protections to include an American-styled whistleblower rewards system to address the financial hardships so many whistleblowers are facing.
The most recent British lawmaker to speak out on the subject is Lord Cromwell, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking. At a recent banking conference, he spoke quite openly on why he believes the American whistleblower bounty system is the right way to go for these brave souls who say something when they see something despite the significant personal risk of doing so:
What actually happens to whistleblowers in our system is they become unemployable, they have their lives trashed, and they are heavily persecuted in the most intimidatory way. . . . You pay for vermin control, so why do you expect people to do the right thing for nothing and then have their lives destroyed.
Not all agree with Lord Cromwell’s push for whistleblower rewards. According to the Times, Robert Francis, a barrister who led a government review into whistleblowing in Britain’s public healthcare system, has been advocating a “re-employment” program rather than financial rewards for whistleblowers who have been terminated for reporting fraud and misconduct in their workplace. Others have been voicing similar resistance to rewards, advocating instead a continued ramping up of whistleblower protections.
Who will win out in this ongoing debate remains to be seen but one thing seems for certain — the whistleblowers will keep coming. We should all be grateful for that. Hopefully, the powers that be in England will see fit to offer these heroes the full protections and rewards they deserve.
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