Corporate Whistleblowers

Good news for Pennsylvania whistleblowers
Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules whistleblowers eligible to receive noneconomic compensation as rewards.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a big decision for whistleblowers in Bailets v. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, 2018 WL 1516785 (Pa. 2018). The Court ruled that noneconomic damages are compensable under Pennsylvania’s whistleblower law.

Ralph Bailets was a former Manager of Financial Systems and Reporting with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. During his tenure, he became concerned about the government contractor Ciber Inc., which was politically-connected to leaders of the Commission. When competing for one infrastructure project, Ciber offered the most expensive bid, yet still was chosen for the contract. As Ciber struggled to perform the contract, Bailets took the issue to his supervisor. Bailet’s supervisor initially warned him that Ciber had friends in high places, and later advised colleagues that Bailet “should be kept on a short lease.” He was fired shortly thereafter.

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In his testimony before Congress last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg received tough questions from members of Congress about wildlife trafficking and the illegal ivory trade on his two-billion user social media site.

At the Joint Senate Committee Hearing, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) referenced a recent Time article examining illicit wildlife crime on Facebook, stating, “wildlife traffickers are continuing to use Facebook tools to advertise illegal sales of protected animal parts.” Zuckerberg responded, “we’re going to have more than 20,000 people at the company working on security and content review.”

Continue Reading Congress Questions Facebook CEO on Wildlife Crime

Photo by Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel<br /> Will Kramer, a safety consultant with Safety Management Services Company, was the whistle blower against Greif Inc. and the CLCM drum reconditioning plants. While in the plants in 2015 and 2016, Kramer says he witnessed many workplace safety problems and environmental issues. Photo by Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Will Kramer knows what it means to be a whistleblower. As a former investigative staffer in the Senate, Kramer has ample experience working with whistleblowers. Later while serving as a health safety consultant, Kramer became one himself when he uncovered deeply disturbing conditions and improper handling of hazardous waste at several Greif Inc. plants. Kramer reported potential health, safety, environmental and securities violations to government regulators, members of Congress and the news media after the plants failed to address these issues. Now, as a law student, Kramer has written an important piece on the whistleblower mindset.

Continue Reading Inside the Mind of a Whistleblower

In Digital Realty Trust v. Somers the Supreme Court issued a destructive decision that will have far-reaching consequences for whistleblowers. Seemingly unaware of the practical consequences of its decision, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled to leave whistleblowers who report internally without critical protections under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Writing for Law 360, NWC Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn explains that employees now take grave risks in using internal compliance programs. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision, whistleblowers should hire an attorney and take their complaints directly to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Continue Reading National Whistleblower Center Executive Director Explains Why Supreme Court Decision in Digital Realty is Disastrous for Internal Compliance Programs  

Following Wednesday’s devastating Supreme Court decision in Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers, whistleblowers were in need of some good news. The Tenth Circuit answered the call yesterday with a solid decision in Gensberg v. Porter affirming an amicus brief submitted by the National Whistleblower Center.

Carl Genberg was an executive for the Ceregenix Corporation who suspected misconduct by the Board of Directors. When he suspected misconduct including insider training, he reported this to the Board. As a result of his actions, Genberg was fired. Yet when he brought a whistleblower suit before a federal district court, the judge dismissed his case upon a summary judgment motion by Ceregenix.

Continue Reading Whistleblowers Get Some Good News in Genberg v. Porter

Corporate Compliance Programs Crippled and Thousands of Employees Lose Protection

Washington, D.C. | February 21, 2018 — In a groundbreaking anti-whistleblower decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that employees who report violations of securities law to their supervisors or corporate compliance programs, but not to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), are not protected from retaliation under the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA). Continue Reading Supreme Court Rejects Protecting Internal Whistleblowers

Donna C. Boehme of Compliance Strategists LLC has been named a 2018 Trust Across America Lifetime Achievement Award honoree for her outstanding achievements in the field of corporate ethics and compliance. Ms. Boehme is the first member from the compliance profession to receive this prestigious award.

Continue Reading Donna Boehme, “The Lion of Compliance,” Named 2018 Trust Across America Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree

Picture this: while at work you become aware of conduct that you believe is unethical, illegal, or qualifies as government waste, fraud, or abuse. You decide you want to blow the whistle. But before you act, be careful! Most corporate and government networks log traffic. Your work computer and phone are not private. When you use a company or department computer, assume everything you do is monitored. These computers are an easy way for your employer to determine you are the whistleblower.

Continue Reading Whistleblowers Beware: Your Work Computer Is Probably Monitored

LUXEMBOURG CITY, LUXEMBOURG | January 11, 2018 — A Luxembourg court today has overturned the verdict against a “LuxLeaks” whistleblower who was convicted of leaking thousands of documents that revealed tax breaks for multinational firms. Former PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) employee Antoine Deltour was serving a six-month suspended sentence for leaking files related to tax-evasion schemes.   Continue Reading LuxLeaks: Antoine Deltour Recognized as Whistleblower by Luxembourg Court

The return from Thanksgiving holiday has been tough for advocates of whistleblower protections and common sense financial regulation. Last week, the Supreme Court heard Digital Realty Trust v. Somers, which concerned whistleblower protections under the Dodd-Frank Act. The Court appears poised to eviscerate internal whistleblower protections, as the justices seemed sympathetic to Digital’s argument that whistleblowers must report alleged misconduct to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to avail themselves of anti-retaliation protections. As the National Whistleblower Center explained in its highly-praised brief, both foundational rules of statutory construction and pragmatic policy concerns should push the Court to rule in favor of the whistleblower. Unfortunately,  Supreme Court watchers are currently predicting the opposite: a unanimous decision against whistleblower protections. Continue Reading CFTC Expanding Whistleblower Program