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Jun 29, 2015 by |

The Securities and Exchange Commission as Whistleblowers’ Advocate

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Since the inception of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s whistleblower program when the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law in 2010, the SEC has done what it takes to make the program successful. In addition to awarding payments of over $50 million to whistleblowers, the SEC has also helped support whistleblowers in retaliation cases by serving as amicus curiae, and has pursued companies that attempt to retaliate against whistleblowers or prevent them from bringing tips to the SEC.

The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower has paid out awards to seventeen whistleblowers, totaling over $50 million. It has received thousands of tips throughout the United States and from sixty different countries. SEC Chair Mary Jo White recently expressed that the commission serves as “the whistleblower’s advocate” and also commended the quality of tips that the commission is receiving.

One such case in which the SEC has made a clear effort to protect whistleblowers is in its first retaliation case, In the Matter of Paradigm Capital Management, Inc. and Candace King Weir. The whistleblower, who was the head trader for the fund, was demoted for revealing improper trading activity to the SEC. in speaking on this case, White again emphasized how seriously the SEC takes whistleblower retaliation.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed its first enforcement action April 1 against a company attempting to stifle the whistleblower process by requiring internal investigation witnesses to sign confidentiality statements. The SEC has also filed amicus briefs on behalf of whistleblowers in two pending cases before the Second and Third Circuit Courts of Appeals.

Given the SEC’s commitment to its whistleblower program and focus on protecting whistleblowers, employers should proceed with caution.

Evans Law Firm, Inc. handles whistleblower and qui tam (False Claims Act) claims, including IRS and SEC whistleblower claims and whistleblower retaliation claims, but did not handle any of the cases listed in this article. If you have a whistleblower claim, please contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. at 415-441-8669 or via email at info@evanslaw.com.

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