To: Ms. White, Chair, SEC
Protect Corporate Whistleblowers!
Dear Ms. White,
I am concerned about the growing trend in retaliation against corporate whistleblowers. In 2013, the Ethics Resource Center found that the number of employees who reported misconduct and faced retaliation as a result had nearly doubled since 2007. More than one-third of those who declined to report misconduct pointed to fear of retaliation as the reason for their silence.
While the SEC Whistleblower Program provides whistleblowers with new channels to disclose abuses, recent court rulings and creative workplace gag orders endangers the efficacy of the Program. As a result, I respectfully suggest that the SEC take the following actions (as recommended in SEC File No. 4-676):
• Clarify and strengthen protections available to those who report possible misconduct internally or externally;
• Hold hearings around the country to discuss the challenges of disclosure and retaliation in the workplace;
• Create an Advisory Committee on Whistleblower Reporting & Protection, enabling those with expertise to contribute to the discussion and devise solutions.
Through the SEC Whistleblower Program, the Commission has a powerful investor protection tool to ensure that the financial services industry remains transparent, responsible and accountable to the American people. Providing whistleblowers with anti-reprisal protections is a key safeguard to ensure that we don’t repeat the financial abuses of the past.
Why is this important?
Whistleblowers are the eyes and ears to abuses by big banks and financial institutions, but they are becoming the targets of increased retaliation. Please stand by financial whistleblowers and ask the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to strengthen and clarify its Whistleblower Program!
In response to the Great Recession, Congress established the SEC Whistleblower Program as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act. While whistleblowers enjoy new avenues to disclose abuses, companies are using gag-orders and other retaliatory tactics to prevent these truth-tellers from coming forward. These tactics both punish the whistleblower and discourage others from coming forward, what is known as the “chilling effect.”
Whistleblowers are invaluable to an open society because they hold institutions accountable and ensure that taxpayer money is spent wisely. Telling the truth should be valued and protected — not punished. Please sign the petition below asking the SEC to protect corporate whistleblowers!