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Will 2014 be the ‘Year of the Whistleblower?’

The year has gotten off to a slow start, but regulators have hinted that big whistleblowing news could be coming soon

The Dodd-Frank whistleblower provisions have been in effect since 2011, but the program only started to gain significant traction at the end of 2013, when the first large award was given out. Since then, whistleblower activity has dropped a bit, but, according to the experts at The Wall Street Journal, this may just be the calm before the storm.

The WSJ identifies five factors that could lead to a surge in whistleblower news this year.  They are:

1)   The arrival of more whistleblower awards. Former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Co-Chief of Enforcement George Canellos told the WSJ to expect a number of cases with large awards coming down the pike this year.

2)   False Claims Act cases will stay strong. 2013 was a big year for False Claims Act (FCA) cases, and there have been a number of whistleblower actions related to the FCA that could come to term this year.

3)   The definition of whistleblower is changing. The Supreme Court will decide whether contractors and subcontractors are covered under whistleblower protection laws.

4)   Companies will encourage internal whistleblowing. As discussed in the latest issue of InsideCounsel magazine, companies are looking to encourage workers who witness wrongdoing to report internally.

5)   The SEC will go after companies that retaliate. As Jordan Thomas, head of the whistleblower representation program at Labaton Sucharow told me, no company wants to be the poster child that the SEC uses to show how serious it is about whistleblower retaliation, so companies will be keeping this in mind when they develop their internal reporting strategies.

 

For more whistleblower news, check out the following:

Whistling down the wind: The pitfalls and possibilities of the Dodd-Frank whistleblowing program

Whistleblower speaks out about Justice Department settlement

Edward Snowden: Criminal or whistleblower?

Facts & Figures: SEC says FCPA enforcement actions down by two-thirds

Managing Editor

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Managing Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance arenas. Rich earned a B.A. in English Literature...

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