Recently, the Office of the Whistleblower issued a statement (re: whistleblower retaliation) about the latest amicus brief filed in the LIU MENG-LIN, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. SIEMENS AG. (liu-siemens-2014). The issues surrounding this case deal with the rule related to whistleblower retaliation. A principal challenge the Commission faced in crafting rules to implement the award program was ensuring that employees and others were not dissuaded from reporting internally due to the possibility of a monetary award.
Basically, at the heart of whistleblower retaliation rule is Section 21 F. Among other things, Section 21F directs the Commission to pay awards to individuals whose reports to the Commission about violations of the securities laws result in successful Commission enforcement actions, and prohibits employers from retaliating against individuals in the terms and conditions of their employment when they engage in certain specified whistleblowing activities. (The award program and anti- retaliation protections are referred to collectively herein as “the whistleblower program.”)
Section 21F directs the Commission to pay awards, subject to certain limitations and conditions, to individuals who voluntarily provide the Commission with original information about a violation of the securities laws that leads to the successful enforcement of an action brought by the Commission that results in monetary sanctions exceeding $1,000,000. See Exchange Act §21F(a)-(c). Further, Section 21F affords the Commission discretion to set the amount of each award within a range of 10% to 30% of the total monetary sanctions collected. The brief filed believes that:
- the rule helps protect individuals who choose to report potential violations internally in the first instance (i.e., before reporting to the Commission), and thus is an important component of the overall design of the whistleblower program.
- if the rule were invalidated, the Commission’s authority to pursue enforcement actions against employers that retaliate against individuals who report internally would be substantially weakened.
The director of the office stated: “The Commission’s whistleblower program both encourages whistleblowers to report wrongdoing and protects them when they do. Today’s filing makes clear that under SEC rules, whistleblowers are entitled to protection regardless of whether they report wrongdoing to their employer or the Commission. The Commission’s brief supports the anti-retaliation protections under the Dodd-Frank Act that I believe are critical to the success of the SEC’s whistleblower program.”
The False Claims Act (qui tam and whistleblower) also permits the government to investigate the allegations made in the relator’s complaint and to decide whether to intervene in the lawsuit, and to recover three times its damages plus civil penalties.
For more information on Qui Tam Whistleblower lawsuits, click here.
We are here to help you recover federal and state government money from those unscrupulous individuals or companies that defraud our government. If you have original information about a possible violation of the federal securities laws that has occurred, is ongoing, or is about to occur you may be eligible to become a whistleblower.
We can help you submit this information anonymously so that your identity remains protected to the fullest extent possible. If you need help with providing whistleblower information anonymously (to the Department of Justice or The Office of the Whistleblower) about potential fraud (e.g., health care fraud, defense department contract fraud, securities fraud – governmental or non-governmental, contract fraud, investor fraud etc.), contact us.
The Program also prohibits retaliation by employers against employees who provide the DOJ with information about possible securities violations.
At the Gooch Law Firm, we pride ourselves on providing our clients reliable representation for even the most challenging cases. If you need help with providing whistleblower information anonymously to the Department of Justice or The Office of the Whistleblower about potential fraud and would like your case evaluated, contact our office at 1.844.329.5955.
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