Security - Check Permissions

MFDF - Mutual Fund Directors Forum - Whistleblower Decision May Hold Mixed Outcomes for Firms

Member Login

Request an account

Sample Banner 2

Whistleblower Decision May Hold Mixed Outcomes for Firms

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that the Dodd-Frank Act protects whistleblowers from retaliation only if they have brought their claims of securities law violations directly to the SEC may increase risk for companies and limit protections for whistleblowers, media reports say. At issue in the case was whether the anti-retaliation provision for whistleblowers in the Dodd-Frank Act extends to individuals who have not reported the alleged misconduct to the SEC and thus fall outside Dodd-Frank’s definition of “whistleblower.” The Justices voted 9-0, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg opining: “The core objective of Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower program is to aid the Commission’s enforcement efforts by “motivat[ing] people who know of securities law violations to tell the SEC.” According to a Wall Street Journal article the decision may increase risk for companies because it may lead more employees to report to the SEC directly instead of initially reporting violations internally. A lawyer quoted in the article said the SEC’s policy is to be more lenient with self-reporting firms than if the SEC learns of a securities law violation via other means. Other individuals quoted in the article noted however that the decision gives companies an opportunity to review how they handle complaints inhouse. Other industry observers note that the impact of the ruling is not immediately clear and several outcomes remain possible.