Today, we expect Wall Street to be as much a part of the community as Main Street. For corporations with social responsibility commitments and investor groups with social responsibility mandates, whistleblowers are a crucial force for compliance. Whistleblowers ensure that businesses play by the rules, including those that they’ve set for themselves, as part of their social responsibility commitments. As the number of whistleblower claims rise, both in quality and scope, the potential impact of these cases on socially responsible investing, and on companies committed to and impacted by such frameworks, needs to be placed in the spotlight.

Continue Reading Using Whistleblower Laws to Uphold Social Responsibility Commitments

Washington, D.C. November 28, 2017. Rejecting arguments by Senator Charles Grassley, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and numerous representatives from the whistleblower community, during today’s oral argument in Digital Realty Trust v. Somers (No. 16-1276), the U.S. Supreme Court Justices expressed support for stripping internal whistleblowers of protection under the Dodd-Frank Act (“DFA”).

Continue Reading Supreme Court Poised to Eviscerate Internal Reporting

This term the U.S. Supreme Court will decide Digital Realty Trust v. Somers (Digital), one of the most important whistleblower cases to come before the Court in 20-years.   The Chamber of Commerce and its Wall Street allies want to strip all employees who report securities frauds internally to their compliance departments or managers from protection under the Dodd-Frank Act’s (DFA) whistleblower law. Continue Reading Thousands of Whistleblower Cases in Jeopardy

Corporate whistleblower protection “undermined” if internal complaints not protected.

Washington, D.C. June 26, 2017.  The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari today in the case of Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers, Paul.  The Court will decide the issue of whether internal reports to managers are covered under the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation law. Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court to Review Dodd-Frank Anti-Retaliation Provisions

Corporate Attack on Internal Whistleblowers Rebutted

In an article published on June 22, 2017,  by Law360, Stephen M. Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) and partner in the whistleblower rights law firm of Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto, revealed previously unknown information regarding the legislative history of the anti-retaliation language in the Dodd-Frank Act (Dodd-Frank).  A controversy exists regarding these provisions which has resulted in a split in the U.S. Courts of Appeal interpreting the scope of protected activity.  Continue Reading NWC Statement Clarifies History Behind Dodd-Frank Anti-Retaliation Provisions

Today, the National Whistleblower Center rallied support from its network of supporters across the country to defend the False Claims Act from proposals made before the House Judiciary Committee to cripple the law’s protections for whistleblowers. The False Claims Act is considered the most effective tool to prevent fraud on government contractors and protect taxpayer dollars. Over 42 billion dollars has been recovered from government contract fraud through False Claims Act whistleblower cases since 1986.

Continue Reading The National Whistleblower Center Draws on Grassroots Support to Defend the False Claims Act

Originally published at Corporate Compliance Insights on June 3, 2014 by Guest Columnist Donna Boehme.  

Recently I’ve had a few epiphanies about corporate whistleblowers (are we ever going to find a better term for this?), and the most striking is this:

Many are accidental.

My month of whistleblower observations includes (i) a striking column by a former JPMorgan executive, “5 Terrible Things I Learned as a Corporate Whistleblower”1, (ii) a visit in the North York Moors to the home of the former head of risk for the UK’s HBOS bank and (iii) a fascinating keynote session with the former CEO of Japan’s Olympus Corporation at the recent Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) European conference in London. Continue Reading 3 Accidental Whistleblowers (Fired for Doing their Jobs Well)

Originally published at Corporate Counsel on March 17, 2015.

The bulk of 2014 was a milestone year for the compliance and ethics field, marking the demise of the failed “Compliance 1.0” model (compliance as a captive arm of the legal function) and the rise of “Compliance 2.0” (compliance freed from the legal department and positioned for success). Some big developments—such as the now standard separation of compliance from legal in the health care industry, and similar momentum in big banks after a series of record-breaking settlements involving LIBOR rate fixing, mortgage fraud and money laundering—have led to some (now prophetic) media headlines including “Legal Losing Its Grip Over Risk and Compliance,” “Ethics and Compliance Moving Out of the Law Department” and “Report: More Companies Splitting Legal and Compliance.” Several industry surveys have mirrored this momentum.

A careful observer will have noted three key events from 2014 that can be categorized as “nails in the coffin” for the decades-old, fatally flawed Compliance 1.0 model: Continue Reading 3 Nails in the Coffin of ‘Compliance 1.0′

National Whistleblower Center Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn was named to Ethisphere Magazines 100 Most Influential in Business Ethics in its 2014 third quarter issue. Each year, Ethisphere recognizes 100 individuals that have made a material impact in the world of business ethics and compliance through the annual 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics list.  Kohn came in at # 16 on the list.

The award recognizes Kohn’s 30+ years as a leader in the field of whistleblower protection and his effective advocacy on behalf of corporate compliance officials. Kohn led efforts to ensure the Dodd-Frank Act protected internal whistleblower and permitted compliance officials to participate in its reward programs. He also proposed the provisions in the Sarbanes Oxley Act that protect corporate compliance officials and employees who utilize internal processes to report corporate misconduct to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Continue Reading NWC’s Stephen Kohn Honored on Most Influential in Business Ethics List

The Chamber of Commerce has commenced a well-financed and aggressive lobbying campaign to undermine America’s most effective whistleblower law, the False Claims Act. To justify its anti-whistleblower campaign the Chamber published a report entitled, “Fixing the False Claims Act: the Case For Compliance-Focused Reforms.” The purpose of this blog series is to combat the Chamber’s misinformation, and explain why the False Claims Act must be protected.

Fact Number 14:

The Chamber urged the court in KBR to find that KBR’s practice of not providing explicit warnings to employees was acceptable under federal law.  Under this precedent whistleblowers can be deceived into thinking they were talking to a truly independent compliance department, corporate counsel could in fact keep all their whistleblower concerns secret, and use the information obtained from the whistleblower to undermine the whistleblower.    Continue Reading Chamber-Endorsed Compliance Programs Can Use Information Obtained by the Whistleblower to Investigate and Fire the Whistleblower