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not be eligible to hold any official U.S. government post from there on. Commercial bribery, which is defined as bribing an official working for a private agency, is also punished under statute. How are whistleblowers protected by law? Whistleblowers, in bribery-related scenarios, are those who are aware (i.e., personally witnessed) the act and would like to inform the authorities. The U.S. has established several legal precedents to protect whistleblowers. There are multiple legislative acts that offer protection to whistleblowers. A couple of examples would be the No-FEAR Act 4 and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. 5 These acts outlaw any form of retaliation against whistleblowers. However, these are some of the newer acts that have actually been founded upon older laws. Even the Lloyd-La Follette Act of 1912 6 and the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 7 have contributed greatly to protecting whistleblowers from retaliation. For example, securities whistleblowers are protected via wide-ranging legislation and they are even encouraged through several incentives. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and the Consumer Protection Act of 2010 8 has had the greatest impact in this case, especially with regard to Section 922. In 2013, the Dodd-Frank Act allowed the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) to pay a bounty of $14 million to a whistleblower whose testimony allowed the recovery of defrauded funds worth $147 million. 9 Under the Act, the SEC is allowed to offer whistleblowers up to 30% of the recovered amount as an incentive. This kind of an incentive-based whistleblower program has led to more people coming forward with information. Apart from financial incentives, Section 922 of the Act also provides protection to whistleblowers. A whistleblower will receive protections against the retaliation that is likely to arise from the actions brought on by the SEC in such cases. In fact, the SEC is This article appears with permission from the Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics. Call +1 952 933 4977 or 888 277 4977 with reprint requests. ethikos January/February 2018 5
dedicated to enforcing the provisions that protect whistleblowers. In some cases, the SEC has even taken action against companies that have forced employees to sign non-disclosure agreements that bar them from whistleblowing in the future. These agreements are actually violations of the Dodd-Frank Act, which clearly prohibits action that would impede the freedom of an employee to function as a whistleblower when needed. those messages. If you can see the number 6, a person on the opposite side of the table will see it as number 9. However, these serious matters need to be addressed promptly and action must be taken. Filing bribery cases on time is of critical importance. Also, be prepared for the negative consequences of whistleblowing. It is a serious matter that can have an impact on your life and also the lives of your loved ones. This matter should be managed internally first, and then the Compliance department should always live by their words on retaliation policy. Some countries, such as the U.S., have strong laws that help people and provide adequate support and enough protection to whistleblowers. • Robin Singh (email@example.com), Ms.(Law), MBA, CFE, CFAP, is a Compliance & Ethics Lead Officer at Abu Dhabi Health Services Company in Abu Dhabi, UAE. How to take action against bribery If you are forced to pay or receive a bribe, the best approach would be to report it to the Compliance/Fraud Control department first. If they take no action, you have the option of reporting it to the appropriate authorities. Never delay the issues. The delay will incriminate a person. This is as simple as a joke about Mr. Y that is sent in a WhatsApp message to a person who “liked” it and wrote LOL. Now, if these texts and devices are later seized by the authorities and investigated, the same text/WhatsApp message will be seen as making a mockery of Mr. Y. You never know what conclusion may be drawn from ENDNOTES 1 Paul H. Robinson and Markus Dirk Dubber: An Introduction to the Modern Penal Code. https://www.law.upenn.edu/fac/phrobins/ intromodpencode.pdf 2 Investopedia: Rent-seeking. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/ rentseeking.asp 3 18 U.S.C. § 201 Title 18 (Bribery of public officials and witnesses) 4 Public Law 107-174 (Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002, known as the No FEAR Act). https://www.gao. gov/about/workforce/nofear.html 5 Sarbanes-Oxley Act Anti-Retaliation Provisions. Information at https://www.gao.gov/about/workforce/nofear.html 6 Lloyd-La Follette Act of 1912. http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/ encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/lloyd-la-follette-act 7 Public Law 101-12: The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-103/pdf/STATUTE-103-Pg16.pdf 8 Public Law 111-203: Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. https://www.congress.gov/bill/111th-congress/housebill/4173/text 9 SEC press release: “SEC Awards More Than $14 Million to Whistleblower” October 1, 2013. https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2013-209 6 January/February 2018 ethikos This article appears with permission from the Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics. Call +1 952 933 4977 or 888 277 4977 with reprint requests.