On May 25, leading whistleblower groups from both sides of the Atlantic are coming together for a free public event highlighting whistleblower developments in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The event, which is both in-person and online via Zoom, is entitled “Realising the Potential of Whistleblowers” and will take place at 2 pm BST or 9 am EST.
The event is cosponsored by the U.S.’s National Whistleblower Center and the U.K.’s 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square and WhistleblowersUK. It will feature a conversation between leading whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto and Georgina Halford-Hall, the CEO of WhistleblowersUK. Alexandra Sidossis of 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square will moderate the conversation.
“U.S. whistleblower laws can be applied to frauds committed in the U.K.,” said Kohn, who is also the Chairman of the Board of the National Whistleblower Center. “I’m looking forward to working with attorneys and NGOs in the U.K. interested in using these highly effective laws to fight corruption.”
The conversation will touch on the stark difference in whistleblower programs in the U.S. and U.K., specifically with regards to corporate fraud and corruption. While the U.S. has embraced whistleblower award programs, such as the SEC and CFTC’s, the U.K. continues to push back against paying whistleblower awards.
Furthermore, the U.K. has been heavily criticized for the weak protections afforded to whistleblowers under its flagship whistleblower law, the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA). A 2016 report by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and Blueprint for Free Speech found that PIDA is “powerless to stop managers and co-workers from retaliating,” the law “can enable and even institutionalise retaliation,” whistleblowers “are often put on trial themselves,” and employers commonly “level trumped-up allegations against whistleblowers.”
As Kohn notes, however, the U.S.’s highly effective whistleblower laws can in many cases apply to fraud committed in the U.K. Notably, the confidentiality protections and monetary awards offered by U.S. whistleblower programs extend to non-U.S. citizens and residents. According to SEC data, the U.K. ranks first among foreign countries in whistleblower tips provided to the SEC. From 2011 to 2021, the SEC received 5,044 whistleblower tips from foreign nationals, and 699 were from the U.K.
Click here to register for the free event: “Realising the Potential of Whistleblowers – The Latest Developments in US and UK.”