The New York City law firm of Labaton Sucharow released a survey yesterday that finds that 78% of Americans would report wrongdoing in the workplace if it could be done anonymously, without retaliation and result in a monetary award. These are precisely the conditions established by the new Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower protections. However, the survey also finds that 68% of Americans are unaware of the new SEC Whistleblower Program created by the Dodd-Frank Act. The logical conclusion is that if we educate people about the anonymous reward program, and the protections against retaliation, then most of them will report misconduct when they see it. Under these conditions, it will be much harder for corporate fraudsters to intimidate employees into remaining silent. It will only take one educated employee to submit a whistleblower report to internal auditors or the SEC to initiate an investigation.
In an article released today, Reuters Canada explains that those who provide original information about securities law violations can earn up to 30 percent of the SEC’s penalty. The Dodd-Frank Act also allows whistleblowers to remain anonymous and includes protections against employer retaliation. The time limit to file a complaint of retaliation with OSHA is now 180 days.
Decades of whistleblower legislation have finally arrived at the formula that will actually encourage employees to speak up about misconduct. In the corporate fraud arena, we just need to get the word out about the rewards and protections currently in the law. In other arenas, we need to spur Congressional action to use the same formula to encourage whistleblowers to come forward.