The newly created federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued a call to whistleblowers. The CFPB is seeking “knowledgeable sources with information about potential violations of Federal consumer financial laws.” They can submit their information by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or they can call toll-free at (855) 695-7974.
The CFPB announcement recognizes that Section 1057 of the Dodd-Frank Act creates a new whistleblower protection for employees. Employees are protected when they (1) raise concerns about compliance with the federal consumer protection laws enforced by the Bureau, (2) testify in enforcement proceedings, (3) initiate proceedings, or (4) refuse to take action they believe would violate the laws enforced by the Bureau.
I would add a couple of suggestions. Anyone considering a formal disclosure about illegality or fraud at work could benefit from a consultation with a whistleblower attorney before they make their disclosure. An experienced attorney can help write an effective disclosure that will make it easier for a judge to say, “that is protected activity.” An attorney can provide an objective assessment about the risk of being discovered, and how to protect against retaliation. Whistleblowers should also know that the time limit to file a written complaint with OSHA about any retaliation against a consumer finance whistleblower is 180 days from the employee’s first notice of the employer’s retaliatory action. Whistleblowers are welcome to seek a referral to a attorney through the Attorney Referral Service of the National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund.