But despite the potential monetary rewards, the case highlights why it’s so rare for seasoned compliance officers like Wolf to blow the whistle, creating an immense uphill battle that can be life-changing both professionally and personally.
“It takes a tremendous amount of bravery for a compliance officer to be a whistleblower,” said Stephen Hasegawa, a partner at Phillips & Cohen LLP who represents whistleblowers but is not involved in the case. “You really are putting your livelihood at risk, and I think that is particularly true of compliance officers.”
It’s rare for compliance officers to speak out in part because it’s considered part of their job to resolve issues internally, attorneys say. They are also more likely than other employees to be successful in effecting change. But when they are repeatedly ignored, the stakes are particularly high.
“They have more power to change corporate behavior than most people,” Hasegawa said. “It looks really bad if a CCO says, ‘You can’t do this,’ and the company continues to do it anyways.”
Read the entire article, “How a compliance chief went from ignored to whistleblower,” on Law360’s website (subscription required).