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 6:
The ERC concluded that today, “ Retaliation against whistleblowers [is] at all-time high. ” Nothing in the Chamber’s report constructively addresses this major problem, and nothing in the report is designed to ensure that employees who risk their careers to report fraud against the taxpayer can obtain justice.
Critically, by making it far harder for employees to qualify for rewards, the incentive on employers not to retaliate would be diminished. The Chamber’s proposals, if accepted, would completely undermine the FCA incentive program and radically interfere with the government’s ability to access witnesses with inside knowledge of fraud.
“One of the most common reasons that employees choose not to report misconduct is fear of retaliation.”
According to the ERC’s most recent findings: “The more an employee persists in reporting a concern, the more likely he/she is to experience retaliation.” “Not only is retaliation on the rise nationally, it is rapidly becoming an issue even at companies with a demonstrated commitment to ethics.”
“One of the most common reasons that employees choose not to report misconduct is fear of retaliation.” “40% of whistleblowers who go first to the hotline experience retaliation.” “For the first time [since the ERC conducted its surveys] managers are now more likely to experience retaliation than non-management employees.”
“The ‘reforms’ advocated by the Chamber not only fail to address this reality, they would undermine the most successful federal law which does.”
A study from the University of Chicago Booth School reinforces these findings: Although “employees clearly have the best access to information,” the whistleblowers were“fired, quit under duress, or had significantly altered responsibilities. In addition, many employee whistleblowers report having to move to another industry and often to another town to escape personal harassment.”
The study concluded: “Not only is the honest behavior not rewarded by the market, but it is penalized. . . Given these costs, however, the surprising part is not that most employees do not talk; it is that some talk at all.”
The “reforms” advocated by the Chamber not only fail to address this reality, they would undermine the most successful federal law which does.
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.