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Life After Whistleblowing

When corporate executives, government employees, or simple truck drivers decide to report regulatory violations or illegal activity, they assume serious risks of loss of livelihood, alienation of friends and even physical safety. The significant financial award given to whistleblowers helps to soften the blow of a likely job loss.  However, what rewards are there to incentivize whistleblowers that challenge the government or dismantle an international corporation?

Whistleblowing alters your life

One major consequence of whistleblowing is that it is highly unlikely that you will return to the same career you had before you blew the whistle.  Sherron Watkins was Vice-President for Corporate Development at Enron when she blew the whistle on the creative and fraudulent accounting activity of the energy giant. When the dust finally settled, Watkins soon realized that she had no future in corporate America. Since Enron’s bankruptcy, Watkins has made a career on the lecture circuit and as an executive coach.

Thomas Drake was a senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and a decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran. He blew the whistle on excessive government spending in a NSA intelligence program. After facing a charge that he violated the Espionage Act, Drake plead guilty to a misdemeanor. Drake is now working at an Apple Store in a Washington D.C. suburb.

Karen Silkwood, who blew the whistle on the Kerr-McGee nuclear power plant was killed in a suspicious car accident while on the way to deliver evidence regarding the health and safety of the nuclear plant employees to the New York Times.

Awards for blowing the whistle

Most whistleblowing provisions in federal statutes provide for financial awards for the whistleblower. Depending on the size of the award, a whistleblower might not feel the financial pressure to restart his or her career.  For example, Bradley Birkenfeld received a $104 million award for blowing the whistle on UBS and Cheryl Eckard took home at least $96 million for revealing GlaxoSmithKline’s violations.

Prepare for life after whistleblowing

The best way to prepare for life after whistleblowing is to make the most of the whistleblowing. Even if you do not receive an award the size of Birkenfeld or Eckard, a whistleblower award of 15 percent of the fine may enable a comfortable life for you. To maximize your whistleblowing, consult with a Texas whistleblower attorney.

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  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.

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