Since 2013, the U.S. Senate has unanimously voted to recognize July 30 as National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. The day marks the anniversary of the United States’ first whistleblower law and celebrates whistleblowers. While the Senate has made it an annual tradition to recognize National Whistleblower Day, it must take the next step to establish the day permanently.
The Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, Siri Nelson, recently noted that Congress or President Biden could make National Whistleblower Day permanent by passing a resolution establishing July 30 as a federal day of observance.
In years past, the Senate has “encouraged” executive agencies to recognize National Whistleblower Appreciation Day by: “(A) informing employees, contractors working on behalf of United States taxpayers, and members of the public about the legal rights of citizens of the United States to blow the whistle; and (B) acknowledging the contributions of whistleblowers to combating waste, fraud, abuse, and violations of laws and regulations of the United States.”
While numerous agencies have responded to the Senate’s encouragement and recognized the day, all agencies must be required to recognize the day and educate their staff on whistleblowing. This requirement would ensure the agencies’ participation and allow them to properly plan educational programming and information to share with their employees.
Furthermore, by permanently recognizing National Whistleblower Day, the federal government would be sending a strong message that whistleblowers are supported. Thus, helping reverse the negative stigmas around whistleblowing which have enabled corruption and misconduct to go unchecked. A permanent day of recognition for whistleblowers would assure potential whistleblowers that the government will take their disclosures seriously. A permanent National Whistleblower Day is not purely symbolic. It would have real consequences in furthering the fight against corruption, misconduct, and the abuse of power.
The National Whistleblower Center, which hosts an annual event celebrating National Whistleblower Day, has issued an action alert calling on individuals to urge the federal government to permanently recognize National Whistleblower Day.