Chamber-Endorsed Compliance Programs Can Use Information Obtained by the Whistleblower to Investigate and Fire the Whistleblower

The Chamber of Commerce has commenced a well-financed and aggressive lobbying campaign to undermine America’s most effective whistleblower law, the False Claims Act. To justify its anti-whistleblower campaign the Chamber published a report entitled, “Fixing the False Claims Act: the Case For Compliance-Focused Reforms.” The purpose of this blog series is to combat the Chamber’s misinformation, and explain why the False Claims Act must be protected.

Fact Number 14:

The Chamber urged the court in KBR to find that KBR’s practice of not providing explicit warnings to employees was acceptable under federal law. Under this precedent whistleblowers can be deceived into thinking they were talking to a truly independent compliance department, corporate counsel could in fact keep all their whistleblower concerns secret, and use the information obtained from the whistleblower to undermine the whistleblower.

Moreover, the Chamber also urged the court to uphold highly restrictive nondisclosure agreements (NDAs). The NDA backed by the Chamber actually threatened employees with termination if they told anyone outside the company about their fraud allegations. These restrictive NDAs contained no exception for contacting the government, even if the employee had direct evidence that federal anti-fraud laws were being violated.

Make no mistake about it. The Chamber’s vision of appropriate “compliance” programs is in fact a compliance trap. The programs are so anti-whistleblower that even a Senior Counsel for General Electric Company urged his fellow corporate attorneys to give clear warnings to employees or face potential liability.

Whistleblowers and their supporters are strongly urged to read this blog series and share it with friends. In addition, an Action Alert has been issued by the National Whistleblower Center so members of the public inform their representatives that the False Claims Act should not be “reformed” as proposed by the Chamber.

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