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: