Senate Bill Would Boost Whistleblower Protections
A bipartisan group of Senators introduced in late September
the Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act, which, among
other measures, protects securities fraud whistleblowers who
report violations internally from retaliation.
The bill, sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman
Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, along with Sens. Tammy Baldwin,
D-Wis., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Richard Durbin, D-Ill., does
• Requires the Securities and Exchange Commission and
the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to issue rul-
ings on whistleblower reward cases within one year of the
filing of applications for a reward;
• Protects securities fraud whistleblowers who report viola-
tions of securities or commodity trading laws internally to
their managers or compliance programs from retaliation; and
• Prohibits mandatory arbitration in Dodd-Frank Act
whistleblower retaliation cases filed in federal court.
“There’s no reason why those who want to report wrongdo-
ing internally should face potential retaliation from the exact
people they are reporting to, Grassley said in a statement.
“Internal disclosures can be the fastest and most effective
way for a company to remedy problems, prevent fraud and
protect investors. Our bill will ensure that those who do the
right thing and report violations will be protected.”
Stephen Kohn, a partner in the whistleblower law firm of Kohn,
Kohn and Colapinto and the chairman of the Board of Directors
of the National Whistleblower Center, added in a statement sup-
porting the bill that the Whistleblower Programs Improvement
Act “is essential to ensure that Wall Street whistleblowers are
protected and that corporate crooks can be held accountable.
“The long delays in issuing rewards under the Dodd-Frank
Act are seriously harming whistleblowers and the credibility
of the Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower reward laws,” Kohn said,
adding that whistleblowers often have to wait over four years
to obtain a reward.
The bill, Kohn argued, also will end mandatory arbitration
in securities whistleblower cases and protect whistleblowers
who report violations internally to their managers.
Forcing whistleblowers “to litigate their wrongful discharge
cases in corporate-controlled mandatory arbitration proceedings is the kiss of death for most whistleblowers,” Kohn said.
“Mandatory arbitration denies whistleblowers their day in court.”
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