The Dodd-Frank SEC Whistleblower Program, 15 U.S.C. § 78u-6, was designed to both incentivize potential whistleblowers with monetary rewards and to protect those whistleblowers who come forward to report fraud. There are three primary forms of whistleblower protection available under the SEC Whistleblower Program: anonymity, confidentiality and retaliation protection.
Since the program was adopted in 2011, these three forms of whistleblower protection have been enforced, and the SEC takes each of them seriously.
The SEC Whistleblower Program permits and encourages whistleblowers who wish to report anonymously. There are obvious reasons a whistleblower may wish to file a complaint anonymously. In order to remain eligible for a potential award under the program while maintaining anonymity, the whistleblower must retain an experienced SEC whistleblower attorney who will properly file the whistleblower complaint on behalf of the whistleblower. That attorney will communicate with the SEC on behalf of the whistleblower and maintain a copy in his or her file of a signed declaration attesting to the truth of the information provided by the whistleblower, and the authenticity of that person’s identity.
Hagens Berman represents several anonymous whistleblowers under the CFTC and SEC whistleblower programs, and both agencies have gone to great lengths to protect whistleblower anonymity.
The Dodd-Frank Reform Act that created the SEC Whistleblower Program includes meaningful provisions to protect the confidentiality of whistleblowers who make themselves known to the SEC. SEC regulations also reflect these protections. With limited exceptions, the SEC shall not disclose any information that could reasonably be expected to reveal the identity of a whistleblower.
The law establishing the SEC Whistleblower Program contains an essential provision protecting SEC whistleblowers from retaliation by providing a cause of action against an employer who terminates, demotes, suspends, threatens or otherwise retaliates against a whistleblower who provides information to the Commission. Persons retaliated against under this law may file suit in federal court seeking reinstatement, back pay and special damages, including litigation costs.
In 2014, the SEC brought its own action, the first of its kind, against an employer who retaliated against an SEC whistleblower.
Hagens Berman represents several whistleblower actions under the CFTC and SEC Whistleblower Programs, including representation of high-profile market expert Haim Bodek, and marshals its significant nationwide resources and expertise in financial fraud to best present whistleblower matters to the SEC and CFTC.