The case of Edward Snowden has been highly debated for much of the past year. To give an idea of just how complicated the situation is, there are 21 different federal laws in existence that protect workers that act as whistleblowers. However, a large number of employers and employees do not have a full understanding of the way these laws apply to particular situations, and this is evident in the Snowden case.
Snowden is currently a fugitive living in Russia and is accused of sharing secrets of national security. The debate centers on whether he committed treason in revealing these secrets and should be punished, or whether he should be protected under the laws that exist to protect whistleblowers.
While this story has been much larger in scope than most whistleblower law cases, it still is relatively the same in principle. Do employees have the right to expose illegal or unethical practices happening in their company? Should they be protected under the law for doing so? Most people would answer “yes” to both of these questions, but the Snowden case isn’t as black and white.
Whistleblowers in America do receive protection from the government when they alert the proper authorities of potential wrongdoing within their company. The question at stake in the Snowden case is whether the information that he revealed is comparable to the information revealed by whistleblowers in typical companies. Some believe Snowden should be protected under the law, as the collection of the personal information of American citizens would violate illegal search and seizure laws. But are there extenuating circumstances at play because Snowden works for a federal security organization?
This debate will not be settled any time soon. But in the meantime, it is important to be in touch with a whistleblower attorney if you are suffering from a crisis of whether to expose potentially illegal practices by your company. An experienced Dallas attorney can offer you protection and potentially help you seek monetary damages.