Are More SEC Protections on the Way for Whistleblowers?


A pro-whistleblower coalition comprising organizations including the Government Accountability Project, the Project on Government Oversight and more is in the news for pressuring the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to improve its protections for employees that alert authorities to potential wrongdoing in their workplace.

Members of the coalition are concerned about the clarity of the current protections offered by the SEC. Their main goal is to have those protections better articulated so potential whistleblower employees will not be afraid to come forward.

The Dodd-Frank financial reform act in 2010 saw the beginning of the SEC’s current whistleblower program. Employees that tip off the appropriate authorities can receive between 10 and 30 percent of any money recovered if the tip leads to penalties.

In the past, whistleblowers have feared sharing information potentially damaging to their company because there weren’t enough rewards to justify them possibly losing their job. The SEC is now doing a better job at protecting whistleblowers, but groups like this coalition can help to improve those protections even further, especially considering the more aggressive tactics that some firms have taken in response to the SEC protections in recent years.

Those behind the coalition claim that many companies are now drafting agreements about employment, confidentiality and severance that could limit an employee’s ability to be a whistleblower under the SEC program. They suggest that the SEC make the appropriate revisions to fight back against these agreements.

We will continue to monitor the progress being made in the efforts of this coalition, as it is of great interest to whistleblowers and whistleblower attorneys across the nation.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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