The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires tax-exempt organizations to report on the annual Form 990 whether they have adopted a written whistleblower policy—a strong signal that the IRS views whistleblower protection as a key part of the governance oversight the IRS expects of nonprofit organizations. A well-drafted policy provides robust protections for whistleblowers, including confidentiality and protection from retaliation. In addition to the requirements of their own internal policies, nonprofits are subject to state, federal, and even international laws protecting whistleblowers, depending on the circumstances. A recent case demonstrated what can happen when an executive attempts to breach those whistleblower protections, even when unsuccessful.
The program was presented by Stephen Salsbury and Cindy Lewin. Stephen Salsbury is an associate in the Baltimore office of Venable LLP and the co-author of "A Cautionary Tale for Nonprofits on Respecting Whistleblower Protections." Cindy Lewin, a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Venable LLP, also co-authored the whistleblower article with Stephen and two other Venable attorneys.