The Wall Street Journal recently reported the results of a survey which found that over one-third of American workers have knowledge of company wrongdoing in their workplace. Not surprisingly, 78% of over 1,000 respondents surveyed nationwide stated that they would report such actions if they knew they could do so anonymously with protection from retaliation, as well as being eligible for compensation for bringing the actions to light.
However, more than two-thirds of respondents were unaware of new qui tam rights created by the Dodd-Frank that reward whistleblowers for exposing violations of federal securities laws. The survey, headed by former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Division of Enforcement lawyer Jordan Thomas, revealed several other notable findings:
- Older respondents showed a higher willingness to report misconduct than those at earlier stages in their careers
- Respondents with higher income and education levels were more likely to blow the whistle on an employer
- While no gender differences were found with respect to reporting personal knowledge of corporate wrongdoing, women were more likely than men to encourage a loved one to take advantage of whistleblower protections
Thomas played a key role in shaping the SEC whistleblower legislation that was passed by Congress in 2010. He lamented the survey’s finding that knowledge of corporate malfeasance is so widespread, but remains confident that the whistleblower program created by Dodd-Frank, along with other established regulatory reforms, will have a powerful and positive effect on investor protection and public faith in financial markets.
Employees in the financial industry, as well as those employed by military contractors, health care providers, pharmaceutical companies, and a host of enterprises that do business with federal and state government agencies, should understand their rights to legal protection and monetary rewards for exposing false claims and other fraud. A discreet consultation with a qui tam law firm can provide advice to help employees do the right thing under the False Claims Act and other whistleblower statutes.