Phillips & Cohen partner Erika Kelton’s letter to the editor was published in the Canberra Times on Oct. 5, 2017. Below is the full text of the letter.
Having represented whistleblowers in the US for more than 25 years, I can say that Richard Mulgan, opining from his academic perch, is wrong on many counts. (“Pushing the limits of whistleblowing laws, Public Sector Informant, October 3, p.16).
One point in particular that concerns me is his claim that “a formal whistleblower regime” should be a last resort over voluntary programs. A formal whistleblower regime – not a voluntary one – is the only way to “instil trust and mutual respect for the common interest,” as he puts it.
Employers must face sanctions and be required to compensate whistleblowers if they retaliate against them, otherwise no trust is ever developed because voluntary rules might not be enforced.
And the only “common interest” that most companies have is an interest in making money.
To benefit everyone’s interest, Australia should enact laws that protect and reward those who have the courage to speak out about wrongdoing.
Erika Kelton, Phillips & Cohen, Washington, DC