Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Majority of Americans Factor a Candidate's Commitment to Root Out Corporate Wrongdoing into Voting Decision, According to Labaton Sucharow Survey
Respondents have firsthand knowledge of corporate wrongdoing and believe the government has not done enough to stop it
NEW YORK (September 19, 2012) – Labaton Sucharow LLP today announced the results of its Second Annual Ethics & Action Survey: Voices Carry, which polled more than 1,000 Americans on corporate ethics and wrongdoing, the impact of corporate misconduct on the economy, government's role in its repair and the impact on their voting decisions in November. The survey is being released in conjunction with the launch of the firm's Corporate Ethics Clearinghouse, a comprehensive web-based resource designed to help responsible organizations deter and appropriately respond to misconduct.
Origins of the Economic Crisis, A New Movement for Change
Released on the first anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Labaton Sucharow's survey of the American public provides important insights into many of the key challenges facing the nation. According to the survey, 61 percent report that a candidate's commitment to rooting out corporate wrongdoing will be a significant factor in their voting decision in November. Particularly telling, 77 percent of Americans believe politicians generally favor corporate interests over their constituents' interests and 81 percent do not believe the government has done enough to stop corporate wrongdoing. The data also revealed 54 percent of Americans have personally observed or have first-hand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace and 64 percent believe that corporate misconduct was a significant factor in bringing about the current economic crisis
"In these difficult economic times, Americans are mad as hell about corporate wrongdoing and are going to do something about it in the November elections and beyond," said Jordan A. Thomas, partner and chair of the Whistleblower Representation Practice at Labaton Sucharow. "At the federal, state and local level, politicians who fail to demonstrate a credible commitment to stopping corporate corruption are likely to be looking for new jobs."
The survey also found that Americans continue to lack faith in their employers. Eighteen percent of Americans polled felt that their employers' ethical values took a back seat to bottom line profits. With respect to acting on reports of misconduct, 24 percent of Americans would fear retaliation if they reported wrongdoing in the workplace and 20 percent believe that a report of wrongdoing would not be appropriately handled by their employer.
"Americans have sounded the alarm," remarked Thomas A. Dubbs, a senior partner at Labaton Sucharow, who has played a lead role in numerous landmark securities litigations. "To meaningfully repair the economy, restore public faith in the markets and hold wrongdoers accountable, we need a strong partnership between individuals, corporate entities and government."
Signs of Hope
The groundbreaking survey also pointed to signs of hope. In addition to acting at the polls, 63 percent of Americans believe the government should allocate more dollars to financial regulators and law enforcement to combat corporate wrongdoing. Particularly encouraging, 84 percent of Americans have a positive perception of individuals who report illegal or unethical conduct and 83 percent would "blow the whistle" on corporate wrongdoing given protections and incentives such as those offered by the SEC Whistleblower Program.
As a former Assistant Director and Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel in the Enforcement Division of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Thomas played a leadership role in the development of the SEC Whistleblower Program. The program has broad extraterritorial reach and offers eligible whistleblowers, regardless of nationality, significant employment protections, monetary awards and the ability to report anonymously. To ensure that adequate funds are available to pay awards, Congress has established a replenishing Investor Protection Fund, which has a balance in excess of $450 million.
"Americans willingness to take a stand for integrity is extremely encouraging," continued Thomas. "Real change and lasting corporate reform requires grassroots action. Corporations that don't take ethics seriously will be making a costly mistake."
Consistent with Labaton Sucharow's longstanding commitment to corporate reform, the firm has created a Corporate Ethics Clearinghouse, a comprehensive web-based resource that provides thought leadership, organizational resources and informative studies on corporate ethics issues. This is the latest addition to www.SECwhistlebloweradvocate.com, an innovative website that uses interactive tools, videos/webinars/podcasts, legal primers, and timely blog entries to help responsible organizations to establish a culture of integrity and courageous whistleblowers to report possible securities violations.
Between August 16-19, 2012, ORC International conducted 1,015 telephone interviews of 511 men and 504 women 18 years of age and older, living in the continental United States. Full methodology is provided in the survey's executive summary at http://www.labaton.com/en/about/press/upload/Ethics-Action-II-Report-Final.pdf.