Trend Seen Toward Growing Whistleblower Protections

Bloomberg BNA Securities Law Daily
October 27, 2015

Jordan A. Thomas remarks on whistleblower protection trends

A recent federal district court decision allowing Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc.'s former general counsel to proceed with claims he was fired for alerting upper management to possible Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations is part of a trend toward greater protection for corporate whistle-blowers, Chair of Labaton Sucharow’s Whistleblower Representation Practice Jordan Thomas told Bloomberg BNA.

Whistleblowers will be increasingly comfortable coming forward knowing they have these protections, Thomas, a member of Labaton Sucharow LLP, said in an Oct. 26 telephone conversation.

It may not happen this term, but the Supreme Court will weigh in on the topic, Thomas predicted. “There's a circuit split and it's growing,” he noted. The reporting-out question “affects so many people it can only help to have clarity on this issue.”

Thomas also said issuers that claim Dodd-Frank doesn't protect whistle-blowers unless they report their concerns to the SEC should “be careful what you wish for.” Imposing a reporting-out requirement could encourage whistle-blowers to bypass corporate management, depriving it of the opportunity to address potential problems.

It's also possible that Congress will take action to clarify its intent, Thomas added.