Traditionally, whistleblowers are often thought of as noble employees who report fraud and face severe backlash for it, all for the sake of justice. The U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has been taking significant strides to try to alter these perceptions. Together, with the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC has begun to revolutionize how whistleblower cases are handled around the globe, not just stateside.
For example, the SEC recently paid a foreign whistleblower $30 million last September. This just served to further compel other countries to treat whistleblowers with the same support. These individuals play such as crucial role in uncovering corruption, violations, and fraud that most countries are starting to see the greater benefits in properly rewarding and protecting them.
The SEC is also working to enforce more sections that will help shift the perception of whistleblowers in America. The protection and reward provisions continue to motive employees and individuals to step forward, proving that the approach and system remains successful in the United States.
How the International Community Is Responding
Hundreds of individuals have been paid by the SEC for helping to uncover corporate, government, and taxpayer fraud under both the False Claims Act and the Dodd-Frank Act. In response to this, the international community has begun to incorporate more provisions to protect whistleblowers from negative retaliation from employers. It is currently illegal in the U.S. to fire an employee due to a whistleblower claim, while most other countries have no regulations on this. With programs in the U.S. recovering billions of dollars normally lost to fraud, many international governments are starting to see the benefits of protecting their own whistleblowers and providing adequate compensation for their brave and bold actions.
Currently, the U.S. has one of the most comprehensive whistleblower programs. Unfortunately, most individuals in other countries don’t have the same protections, meaning they remain too afraid to step forward. There is often no safeguard for their job and coming forward may make it difficult to find new employment if they were to be fired. Even more concerning is how little prosecution can be enforced against companies that are called out for fraud. Most countries enforce minimal penalties or consequences due to weak policies.
Hopefully the impressive and intentional strides the SEC has taken will continue to help boost whistleblower laws not just within the U.S., but throughout the world as well.