In this Corporate Whistleblower Programs video, Mr. Bennett delivers guidance on what challenges companies face with whistleblower programs amid regulatory enforcement imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and ways a company culture can incentivize a whistleblower’s actions.
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“The primary issue facing corporate whistleblower programs today is how do you incentivize the whistleblower to come to the company first before going to the government. That is a very difficult challenge in an environment where there are financial rewards offered by the government. And there are plenty of lawyers willing to take the whistleblower’s claim.”
“Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission has taken enforcement action against companies who have attempted to restrict what a whistleblower might say to the SEC and the financial benefits that they might receive from making a whistleblower report.”
“Because the SEC has been clear that disincentives are not acceptable, a company’s challenge is to develop a culture that incentivizes the whistleblower to bring his or her concerns to the company first so they can be thoroughly investigated and resolved.”
“Whistleblowers are not motivated by financial rewards alone. The key to a successful corporate culture is creating loyalty in its employees and a belief that that loyalty will be rewarded. These are also the key elements of a whistleblower program.”
“The key going forward is to focus on the independence of the investigation of the whistleblower’s concerns, the protection of the whistleblower from retaliation in their place of employment, and keeping the whistleblower invested in the process through regular updates that assure the whistleblower that their concerns are being acted on.”
Mr. Bennett is a partner in Baker Botts’ Corporate Investigations and Government Enforcement Practice, a team of practitioners with decades of compliance and investigations experience. The practice is made up of trial lawyers with national reputations and includes former federal and state prosecutors and regulators, national security specialists and experienced investigators. Read more about Baker Botts Corporate Investigations and Government Enforcement Practice.
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