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Whistleblower's Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Doing What's Right And Protecting Yourself Paperback – March 15, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"Whistleblowers should do two things: call us at 60 Minutes and read 'The Whistleblower's Handbook.' Its 21 rules lay out the game plan for holding institutions accountable while protecting your job."
- Michael Radutzky, Senior Producer 60 Minutes

“As a whistleblower who has successfully won a case against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), I can attest to the fact that this is the definitive Bible for whistleblowers.  Written by Stephen Kohn, the premiere whistleblower attorney in the United States, this handbook contains everything you will need to know about blowing the whistle, and surviving.”
- Jane Turner, FBI Whistleblower and 25 year veteran agent

“In a mix of anecdote, legal history, compendium of relevant laws, and practical handbook, Stephen Kohn . . . steer[s] both would-be whistleblowers and corporate compliance officers through what he calls a ‘labyrinth.’ [He] is well-placed to serve as guide. . . . The book shows how far whistleblower legislation has globalised . . . [and] shines is in setting out the current, highly complex, legal structure.”
—Financial Times

“It is time that "situational" knowledge within the whistleblowing environment is released to remove the "chill" on employees, to protect the public trust, and to ensure that "truth" and "integrity" among the private and public entities supporting the government are never an OPTION, but an OBLIGATION!  I surely hope this gets to all workers who have committed themselves to making a difference wherever they work.”
- Bunnatine Greenhouse, Army Corps of Engineers Whistleblower

“Steve has written a first-rate handbook for workers who have witnessed egregious examples of waste, fraud or abuse which they know should be reported to the authorities but who are afraid of losing their jobs if they do.  The handbook tells them of the many laws and services available to them, which if understood and used intelligently, can not only protect a whistleblower from losing his job, but can even led to cash rewards under some circumstances.”
- William Sanjour, EPA Whistleblower

“’The Whistleblower’s Handbook’ opens a window into the controversial but vital role of whistleblowers in America’s workplace dating from the days of the Civil War.  With compelling insider details, practical “rules” and rare insights, Stephen Kohn, the country’s leading whistleblower expert, has created the essential overview for CEO’s, CFO’s, GC’s, chief compliance officers, HR and audit professionals, and others who should be knowledgeable about this fundamental aspect of corporate life.”     
- Donna Boehme, former Group Compliance and Ethics Officer, BP plc, and Principal, Compliance Strategists LLC

“As the courageous whistleblower who faced fierce opposition and exposed the largest tax scandal in US history . . . this invaluable reference guide will help any future whistleblower navigate the treacherous international waters of ensuring what is done is done 100% right.”
- Brad Birkenfeld, UBS Whistleblower

“Finally -- the "how-to" guide for whisteblowers. This is a much-needed step-by-step explanation for anyone thinking about speaking out against fraud and corruption. Whistleblowers will avoid a lot of tears from the book’s checklists and do's and don'ts. Written in clear and understandable language this book should be in the bottom drawer of anyone thinking about blowing the whistle -- and on the desk for managers who want to improve compliance.”
- Dean Zerbe, columnist, National Managing Director of AlliantGroup, LP

“Steve Kohn’s book ‘The Whistleblower’s Handbook’ provides a great service to current and would-be whistleblowers and to our citizenry by providing a comprehensive guide to exposing waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct in both the private and public sectors.  It effectively acts as a compass and detailed avoidance map to help navigate whistleblowers through the retaliatory minefields they may already have entered, or will soon face.
- Russ Tice, Former Intelligence Officer, (NSA) National Security Agency

“Written by the foremost authority on the subject, ‘The Whistleblower's Handbook’ is extraordinarily user-friendly and extremely easy to read. Every worker bears a responsibility to guard the public interest. Like no other resource, this book places the power of the law squarely in the hands of America's workforce.”
- David L. Lewis, Ph.D., EPA Whistleblower

“Based on the complex and illogical array of whistleblower legislation, it is astounding that anyone undertakes to do the right thing and report malfeasance to the authorities.  Yet, Stephen Kohn has written an inspiring and optimistic report on the state of whistle flowing in the US and guides us through the complexities of risking our own comfort by blowing the whistle in 21 rules.

“’The Whistleblower’s Handbook’ is replete with compelling and little-known stories alongside the more typical, highly-publicized tabloid fodder.  A particularly sobering account of whistleblowers in the earliest days of our republic and the moral imperative that protected them will make readers yearn for a way to protect ourselves in the same way as the Founding Fathers protected a group of seamen during the Revolution. The wise reader will pay heed to Kohn’s short list of rules when performing her moral duty.
- Gina Vega, Professor of Management at the Bertolon School of Business, Salem State University, Author of “Moral Courage in Organizations: Doing the Right Thing at Work”

“This book highlights citizen empowerment and true grassroots democracy in action. As a whistleblower, I know the power of speaking the truth and the unfortunate consequences for those who do. Every American should read this book.”
- Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Founder of No FEAR Coalition

"As a National Security whistleblower, I am very familiar with the plight of those who dare to expose corruption, fraud, waste and abuse…I am more than certain that "The Whistleblower's Handbook" will help countless whistleblowers navigate the horrifying maze of the legal system. This book is a step-by-step guide to understanding the process and arming yourself with the knowledge essential to prevailing in your case. I only wish I’ve had access to this priceless publication even sooner! This is a must-read for every current or potential whistleblower."
- Julia Davis, Department of Homeland Security Whistleblower

“Where the book shines is in setting out the current, highly complex, legal structure. Kohn points out laws to protect, and even reward, individuals providing information that stretch back to Abraham Lincoln’s time – way before Sarbanes-Oxley, the stiff US legislation born out of the Enron and WorldCom crises – and more recently the Dodd-Frank legislation on the financial sector.”
—Financial Times

From the Back Cover

From America’s leading whistleblower’s attorney—the THIRD, UPDATED edition of his layman’s guide to the legal do’s and don’ts of exposing workplace wrongdoing
Do you suspect that your employer is skirting safety or environmental rules, cheating on taxes, violating government contracts, committing financial fraud, or breaking the law? That your boss is a crook? Welcome to the ranks of the close to 50 percent of American workers who have witnessed fraud or misconduct at work—about half of whom take initial steps to “do the right thing” by reporting it. Few get far. Despite a revolutionary spate of laws in recent years that not only protect whistleblowers but also provide for large monetary rewards, the legislative labyrinth remains daunting. All too often this means silence, lost court cases, damaged careers, and a failure to effect real change.

Now, updated in March 2013 to include the historic $104-million Bradley Birkenfeld whistleblower case and more, comes the third edition of the first-ever consumer guide to whistleblowing by the nation’s leading whistleblower attorney. In The Whistleblower’s Handbook, Stephen Martin Kohn explains nearly all federal and state laws regarding whistleblowing. In the step-by-step bulk of the book, he also presents twenty-one rules for whistleblowers—from finding the best federal and state laws to knowing your way around the far-reaching Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, and from the dangers of blindly trusting internal corporate “hotlines” to obtaining the proof you need to win the case. Also included are six easy-reference checklists on whistleblower reward laws and other legislation.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762763736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762763733
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen M. Kohn is the nation's leading whistleblower rights attorney. He represented UBS Swiss banker Bradley Birkenfeld, and won the largest reward ever paid to an individual whistleblower: $104 million dollars obtained under the IRS tax fraud whistleblower rewards program. His record of winning whistleblower cases, at trial and on appeal, dates back to 1984. Many of his court victories have become landmark precedents in modern workplace law.

A respected scholar as well as a litigator, he has testified in Congress on behalf of whistleblowers and worked with the Senate Judiciary and Banking committees to draft corporate whistleblower protections under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Dodd-Frank Act and Whistleblower Protection Act. He is the author of the first legal treatise on whistleblowing and is the world's most published author on whistleblower protection. He is a partner in the Washington D.C. law firm of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, and serves pro bono as the director of the National Whistleblower Center. He currently specializes in whistleblower cases filed under the False Claims Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the IRS tax fraud whistleblower rewards law, the Securities Exchange Commission's whistleblower program and qui tam whistleblower laws.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jeffery A. Conklin on September 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
I am a Federal Employee Whistleblower,

I just purchased and read the book "The Whistleblowers Handbook" and I found it a remarkably practical guide that validated many of the conclusions that I have had to make in the (so far) two year process of seeking remedy to my retaliation. I wish I had had this two years ago when I started. It is detailed and technical enough to be useful in a practical way and written in such a way a to be understandable by non-attorneys.

I have had a Whistleblower Case pending as a federal employee over retaliation for the disclosure of laws, rules, and regulations to the agency Inspector General. I wish so much I had had this book when I initiated my complaint.

It was most discouraging (but unfortuantely accurate as I have come to understand it) to see Mr. Kohn describe the federal employees Whistleblower Protection Act as "...generally considered to be one of the weaker whistleblower laws..."

It was most encouraging to go thru Checklist 5 (Proof of Retaliation) and be able to check off most of the indicators their as relevent to my case. The six checklists by themselves are worth the price of the book for any Federal Whistleblower attemtping to advocate for themself Pro Se.

This is a great and practical guide that I wish I had 2 years ago, but that I think will now assist greatly in focusing my activities and help me in understanind how to best advocate for my self as my case progresses.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By frribciuc on March 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In a world where corporate corruption runs rampant, and taxpayers are often left with enormous bills as a result, understanding and protection of ethical corporate whistleblowing should be an ever-more-important education and policy issue. This book goes some way in that direction, and one can only imagine its power once more Americans will understand its import.

As the title suggests, the book can serve as a policy manual as well as information necessary for any American who functions in a workplace and wants to both perform his/her civic duty, and PROTECT HIS/HER CAREER, OR MORE LIKELY, THEIR CHANCE TO PREVAIL IN COURT ONCE THEIR CAREER IS PREDICTABLY DAMAGED BY A FRAUDULENT EMPLOYER.

There are many good books about "what happens to whistleblowers" (the books by Glazer (older) and Alford (newer) probably lead the pack), highly visible cases (Glazer, as well as Scammell's "Giant Killers"), what drives whistleblowers (Alford), etc). You can glean from some of those what was happening, what was raised by the fraudulent employer as tactics to discredit the whistleblower, and how some whistleblower cases came down. But in all of those such information is peripheral and indirect. "The Whistleblower's Handbook" is the first book that addresses the most important and practical issue: equipping the whistleblowers with critical legal and procedural information to even the playing field against powerful and unscrupulous employers. There is no doubt in my mind that EVERY whistleblower and potential whistleblower out there will get a better outcome for their case by reading this book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte on March 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
You've heard the saying: honesty pays. It may or may not be true depending on who you are, where you work, and to whom you report wrongdoing. Stephen Kohn's book is exactly as it's marketed: a layperson's guide to blowing the whistle. As Kohn -- a whistleblower's attorney with decades of experience -- reveals, there are many shades of whistleblower laws and statutes, some effective and many not. While I advocate for doing the right thing, I do so only after asking you to read through this guide so that you won't personally have to pay the price for society's well-being. The book is well-arranged and easy to read. Historians will also find information on how these laws came to be, and how they've changed over the years.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By LiteBlue Gator on October 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
Regardless of your occupation this handy reference is a "must have publication" for your professional development library.
I first saw the author on C-SPAN in 2013, and was very interested in what Mr. Kohn had to say on the subject as one of the leading whistleblower Attorneys in the United States.

The book definitely is a helpful step-by-step guide to doing "the right thing," and protecting yourself. I love the fact that back in the day James Madison stood before the First Congress of the USA and proposed that the Constitution be amended to include a Bill of Rights. His words were clear and the First Amendment was unmistakable. "The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable. The people shall not be restrained from peaceably assembling and consulting for their common good; nor from applying to the Legislature by petitions, or remonstrates, for redress of their grievances."

Read this handbook to learn about:

The Dodd-Frank Act
The Sarbanes-Oxlley Act
The False Claims Act
Qui Tam
Internal Revenue Code

This reference is essential reading for anyone considering to blow the whistle so that you Find the Best Federal law. As Mr. Kohn points out "Any whistleblower law worthy of consideration must, at a minimum, reasonably define protected activity, cover your industry, ensure due process procedures, and permit you to obtain a complete "Make Whole" remedy, including reinstatement to your job, back pay, and reasonable damages.

Learn the working definitions of "good faith," and "keeping book.
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