Part of the “Quick Peek” Series, exploring the NEW edition of Stephen Kohn‘s Whistleblower’s Handbook.   

Whistleblowing is the foundation of democracy. “The roots of whistleblowing can be found deep in the American dream,” declares Stephen Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center. One might think this a bold assertion, but the first recorded instance of whistleblowing happened even before our nation had written a constitution. Even without explicit first amendment protections in the newly independent United States, whistleblowers were backed and protected by members of Congress, viewed as patriots serving their country.

With the passing of time, societal attitudes towards whistleblowers changed, alongside the laws protecting their rights. Today, Kohn says, “the key to obtaining protection as a whistleblower is navigating the maze: finding the best laws and becoming aware of the pitfalls… At some point there will be a change in corporate culture…We are not there yet – not even close. But the legal framework for changing this culture is coming into place, and a growing number of whistleblowers are landing on their feet.”

National Recognition of Whistleblowers

In honor of the courage and personal sacrifice made by whistleblowers, on July 7th 2016, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution recognizing July 30th as National Whistleblower Day. The date of July 30th was specifically chosen in remembrance of that day in 1778, when ten men became the first ever whistleblowers, standing up to one of the most powerful and feared men in the country. They risked their livelihoods and even their lives, to speak out against the corrupt practices of a powerful individual. Almost 240 years later we can still learn from the example of our Founding Fathers.

The new edition of The Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself is available for purchase. You can reserve your copy of this highly acclaimed guide now by making a tax-exempt donation of $50 or more to the National Whistleblower Center. Your donation will support the NWC’s work to protect the brave individuals that put themselves on the line to protect us all. The newly released edition is fully updated with new sections on wildlife whistleblowing, combating foreign corruption, and an international anti-corruption toolkit.


A big thanks to NWC intern Arthur Kohn for his work on this blog post!