The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of the Whistleblower was formed as part of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010. Within the first seven weeks of the program, no state offered more tips than California, which had 34. New York was second with 24.
Whereas the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 protects whistleblowers from retaliation from their employers, Dodd-Frank incentivized reporting illegal activities by providing awards when a whistleblower gives the SEC information that leads to an action resulting in monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million. Under Dodd-Frank, an individual whistleblower may be eligible for an award of 10 to 30 percent of the monetary sanctions, leading to some people referring to the program as the “bounty hunter” provision.
As the Pacific Coast Business Times noted in an article published on February 3, 2012, Thousand Oaks-based biotechnology company Amgen “announced on October 24, 2011 that it had set aside $780 million to settle various federal and state investigations and whistle-blower lawsuits accusing it of illegal sales and marketing tactics of the anemia drug, Aranesp.” The same article also noted that the federal government is “actively seeking to recover fraudulent Medicare payments by encouraging employees to blow the whistle on illegal billing practices.” The Times reported that estimates range from $60 – $80 billion fraud in Medicare based on $528 billion Medicare spending by the government in 2010.
The Dodd-Frank provision to employment law regarding whistleblowers was based upon a imilar program established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Still, many people fail to report wrongdoing by their employers out of fears of retaliation. The difficulty that so many people are having in finding employment might add to that fear, but you should know that not only could you be eligible for a financial award for reporting any wrongdoing on the part of your employer, but you are also protected from any retaliation. If you have any questions about how to handle a possible whistleblower claim, you can set up a free confidential consultation with a Los Angeles employment lawyer.
Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob – Los Angeles employment attorneys