According to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) 2013 Annual Report to Congress on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program, the agency awarded four whistleblowers a total of $14,831,965.64 during the fiscal year. More than $14 million of that sum was given to a single whistleblower. Under the Dodd-Frank whistleblower incentive program, individuals who report original information that leads the SEC to recover monetary sanctions of $1 million or more are eligible to receive awards of 10 to 30% of that financial recovery. This year, whistleblowers filed 3,238 tips and complaints with the agency, up from 3,001 filed in 2012. Since the program’s inception in August 2011, the SEC has received 6,573 tips and complaints. Other highlights of this year’s report include the following:
Articles Discussing Employee Whistleblowers.
On Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act of 2013 (S. 42), a bill that would extend whistleblower protections to employees who report potential violations of antitrust and related criminal conduct. Notably, the measure does not provide an economic incentive akin to the Dodd-Frank bounty program for blowing the whistle on potential criminal law violations. The sum and substance of the bill would prevent retaliation against employees who do come forward, and provide them with judicial redress and possible compensatory damages in the event they are unfairly discriminated against.
ven though Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act more than three years ago, the basic question of who can claim the anti-retaliation protections of that law are less clear than ever. On one hand, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a growing list of federal district courts have held that a person who makes internal complaints of fraud or securities laws violations within their company can bring a Dodd-Frank action. On the other hand, a federal circuit court of appeals and several lower courts have recently ruled that only one who provides information to the SEC can reap the protections of the Dodd-Frank anti-retaliation provisions. How this split will resolve remains to be seen.
The issue of whether attorneys may “blow the whistle” on conduct they reasonably believe violates securities laws, and thereby collect bounties under federal whistleblower laws, is controversial.
In the last decade, healthcare providers have seen a steady rise in whistleblower lawsuits under the False Claims Act (FCA). A recent settlement out of the Northern District of Florida underscores the high cost of resolving such claims, which typically involve allegations of fraudulent billing practices.
The Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have issued a series of interim rules amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement portions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 that boosts whistleblower protections for certain federal contractors and subcontractors, and establishes a four-year pilot program enhancing whistleblower protections applicable to all civilian federal agency contractors.
As noted in several recent posts to this blog, the number of whistleblowing claims in the healthcare industry is rapidly rising, and there are a growing number of private and federal initiatives supporting whistleblowing in this field. Nevertheless, a recent case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit establishes that not all “whistleblowing” activity is statutorily protected. In Genova v. Banner Health, a physician claimed that a hospital terminated his staff privileges in retaliation for reporting overcrowded conditions in a hospital emergency room. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado and held that the physician’s report did not qualify for protection under the whistleblower provision of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA).