SEC Whistleblower Act

Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act on July 21, 2010. A portion of the Act amended the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which had included a relatively rudimentary whistleblower act directed at exposing insider training. The SEC adopted Final Rules to implement the Act on May 25, 2011, which went into effect on August 12, 2011. The Act marked a significant increase over its predecessor statute in whistleblower incentives and protections.

Large Rewards

Notably, the Dodd-Frank Act and corresponding regulations provide that a whistleblower is entitled to 10% to 30% of any recovery by the SEC that exceeds $1 million. The SEC determines the percentage based on the:

  • significance of the whistleblower’s information,
  • the degree of assistance provided by the whistleblower,
  • the “programmatic interest of the Commission in deterring violations of the securities law,”
  • additional factors established by the Commission

Anti-Retaliation Provisions

The Act also protects against retaliation and allows a whistleblower to bring a private action for reinstatement, back pay, and damages if he or she experiences retaliation. The law says that employers may not fire, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, or discriminate against an individual who provides information to or assists the SEC.

You Can Remain Confidential

Finally, the Act is unique in the level of confidentiality provided – a whistleblower who is represented by counsel may stay anonymous throughout the entire process. This confidentiality provision is the strongest available out of any of the federal whistleblower programs, including “qui tam” cases under the False Claims Act and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) whistleblower program.

You can find the complete text of the Dodd-Frank whistleblower provisions here. You can find the SEC Final Rule here.

Our experienced SEC whistleblower attorneys can help you determine if there is a violation, guide you through blowing the whistle in a manner calculated to protect your career, and fight for your rights if your employer retaliates.