Can I rely on government published FAQs?
Cautiously. The U.S. government and a variety of offices publish numerous FAQs for whistleblowers. These can be extremely helpful, but they do not have the force and effect of law. No court or agency is required to follow a FAQ. Also, FAQs are not legal authority.
Do FAQs provide the full story?
Government FAQs usually do not fully explain the strategic choices available to whistleblowers. They often contain information limited to the specific laws under the jurisdiction of the agency. Given the numerous state/federal laws, whistleblowers need to be cautious that FAQs do not provide a full picture of rights or remedies available, or the best strategic approaches.
Do government FAQs inform whistleblowers of their rights to collect rewards?
Some agencies (SEC, CFTC and IRS) have FAQs that explain their reward provisions, but these are generally narrowly tailored to discuss the laws in the jurisdiction of that agency. Also, whistleblowers may be entitled to a reward under more than one reward law. Unfortunately, many government agencies do not explain the whistleblower rewards that may be available through other agencies. For example, EPA FAQs explain violations of EPA rules, but they may fail to inform that rewards could be available under different laws.
Should I review government FAQs?
Yes, reviewing FAQs on government websites is a good starting point in learning your rights as a whistleblower. However, you must understand they are not complete, and they do not explain all of your options.
Are there false or misleading government FAQs?
Yes, some government FAQs fail to identify which are the best whistleblower laws to protect you.