The Successes and Failures of Whistleblower Laws
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The Successes and Failures of Whistleblower Laws

Robert G. Vaughn

Drawing on literature from several disciplines, this enlightening book examines the history of whistleblower laws throughout the world and provides an analytical structure for the most common debates about the nature of such laws and their potential successes and failures.
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Chapter 11: Interpretation

Robert G. Vaughn


Many persons interpret whistleblower laws. Attorneys, employees, citizens, law enforcement and regulatory agencies, businesses, scholars, courts, whistleblower advocates, and whistleblowers all consider the application of the language of whistleblower laws. Of all of these persons, whistleblowers are among the least likely to guide their conduct by the content of the law. Studies consistently show that employees covered by whistleblower laws are unlikely to know of the relevant law. Even if aware of the relevant statutes, whistleblowers are least likely to recognize or examine how the interpretation of the language of a statute affects their rights. For example, one study of federal employees in the United States concluded that 15 years after the passage of the whistleblower provision in the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (and four years after the amending legislation in the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989), 76 percent of federal employees were unaware of their whistleblower rights.

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