The Securities and Exchange Commission took a big step today to establish a strong whistleblower program by endorsing final rules for the SEC whistleblower program that would reward – but not require – whistleblowers to report concerns of wrongdoing and fraud to internal compliance programs first.
The Chamber of Commerce and other corporate interests had barraged the SEC with complaints that internal compliance programs would be rendered worthless unless employees were required to report fraud to those internal programs before going to the SEC. Fortunately, the SEC seemed to realize that such a requirement would emasculate the program. Instead, the rules would make whistleblowers eligible for an increased reward if they report their concerns to internal compliance programs first.
The SEC also clarified that whistleblowers who bring information to the SEC are protected by anti-retaliation measures whether they get an award or not.