When workers see a company acting in a corrupt manner or performing illegal activities, they may decide to inform authorities. Since this call out will most certainly have consequences for the company that performed the misdeeds, the whistleblower may be at risk for retaliation.
Whistleblower protection prohibits companies from punishing workers who speak out against an injustice occurring within the business. Yet, are there protections for whistleblowers who seek anonymity in another country?
In 2003, the Convention Against Corruption was adopted by the United Nations, and includes 137 nations that have signed articles protecting whistleblowers. Since then, many U.S. and non-U.S. citizens have come forward to announce economic crimes, including ocean pollution, money laundering, securities violations, bribery and more.
While each country has their own specific whistleblower protection laws, blanket acts, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, keeps international corporations from bribing government officials to avoid acting on whistleblower information.
The United States and other countries across the world enforce other acts giving international protection to whistleblowers. People who speak out against securities and commodities fraud are protected by the Dodd-Frank Act, while the False Claims Act rewards those who report government fraud. Those who anonymously report illegal government activity that is successfully prosecuted receive between 15 and 30% of the monetary proceeds.
Whistleblowers help keep companies ethical and reduce the amount of corruption that occurs in the country. It is important to investigate the specific whistleblower protection laws in the country of interest. It is also helpful to ensure they are part of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, which includes them in international protection as well.