SEC Proposes New Whistleblower Rules


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As could have been predicted, corporations are logging complaints about the Dodd-Frank Act and all that it does to encourage whistleblowers. Among the concerns from corporate giants that fear their all-powerful control is slipping and that accountability and safety may take precedence over bonuses and personal gain are an undermining of Saranes-Oxley, that employees will seek out potential complaints and, well, the fact that it’s probably going to work and ignoring or firing whistleblowers is no longer a viable option.

Despite ration, reason and logic the SEC still feels compelled to take action to ease concerns. After setting aside $452 million in rewards and to service the act, the SEC is now making it’s own rules to govern the Qui Tam situation. While this may allay some concerns or even add certain controls on employee behavior, it will not undermine the intent of Dodd-Frank.

The Dodd-Frank Act is seen as a response to the Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme as well as Wall Street irresponsibility that lead to the recurring financial crises. While acquiescing to irrational corporate complaints is not the goal here, it is apparently necessary to make the implementation of Dodd-Frank free of business world objections.

The rules proposed by the SEC on Nov. 3rd include:

Giving credit to informants for first reporting the wrongdoing through company channels in setting the size of the award.

Not disqualifying people who first report a problem internally, as long as they report the wrongdoing to the SEC within 90 days. The SEC would count employees as informants from the date they reported a problem to the company thereby not losing their place in the line of tipsters.

Barring compliance staff and people in positions of responsibility in a company from receiving awards for reporting tips they received because an employee assumed they would act to stop the fraud.

While corporate leaders and their legal staff would like to see the SEC do more to encourage internal reporting, those who represent whistleblowers applaud the lack of SEC mandates for internal reporting. Said Jason Zuckerman, a Washington Plaintiffs’ lawyer, “whistleblowers should not be required to go to their companies first.” He called corporate compliance programs “mostly a lot of window dressing” that “too often are misused” for retaliation.

The five commissioners of the SEC agreed on the proposals and must vote again to enact the new regulations.




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