For Immediate Release
Congress Passes Major Whistleblower Protections as Part of Wall Street Reform Bill
WASHINGTON - The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R.
4173) passed 60-39 by Congress today includes a number of provisions
designed to protect employees who report fraud in the commodity and
stock exchanges. The NWC website has information on the specific whistleblower sections.
The bill includes a qui tam provision that provides monetary
rewards for whistleblowers who disclose original information that the
government did not know about concerning major fraud in the commodity
and stock exchanges. There are also strengthened anti-retaliation
provisions for employees who disclose major fraud to the SEC and
commodities board, and who provide information to the newly created
Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
The bill closes a major loophole in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a
corporate whistleblower law, by covering subsidiaries of publicly traded
companies. For the first time employees at "nationally recognized"
"statistical rating organizations" such as Moody's and Standard &
Poor's, have whistleblower protection.
In addition, H.R. 4173 prohibits mandatory arbitration on Wall
Street related whistleblower claims, permits jury trials under SOX,
requires the SEC to establish a whistleblower protection office, sets a
three-year statute of limitations for retaliation cases under the False
Claims Act, and prohibits retaliation under the federal obstruction of
Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers
Center, said, "This is an historic recognition by Congress that
whistleblowers play a critical role in combating fraud. It is one of the
most important advances in whistleblower legislation to date. Congress
recognizes that just protecting whistleblowers from being fired is not
enough. The anti-retaliation laws of the past have not adequately
protected the public interest because employees remain afraid to make
disclosures. For a whistleblower system to work there must be
Lindsey M. Williams, Director of Advocacy and Development at the
National Whistleblowers Center, said, "Although the Wall Street Reform
bill gives a shiny new umbrella to private employees, it leaves federal
employees out in the rain with no cover. There is more work to be done.
Congress must immediately pass H.R. 1507 in order to give federal
employees the same rights repeatedly granted to private employees."
Since 1988, the NWC and attorneys associated with it have supported whistleblowers in the courts and before Congress and achieved victories for environmental protection, government contract fraud, nuclear safety and government and corporate accountability.