In an article by Agenda published on Monday, leading whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn discusses the current culture surrounding whistleblowers in corporate America.
The article, “Is Whistle-Blowing Growing? Directors Don’t Seem to Know,” explores the current state of whistleblowing in the corporate world.
Several studies are cited in the article to demonstrate that even though more company whistleblowers usually result in fewer lawsuits and government fines, internal tipsters are still underutilized in corporate America.
Some programs have experienced an uptick in reporting, like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblower Program, which received the second-highest number of whistleblower tips since the program began in 2010, despite a recent court case that threatened the very rights of SEC whistleblowers.
A major setback for corporate compliance occurred in 2018 when, in Digital Realty v. Somers, the Supreme Court held that employees who report fraud to their supervisors through internal compliance programs or to corporate audit committees do not have protection under federal law. Unless a statute explicitly covered internal disclosures in its definition of whistleblowing, internal complaints are not “protected activity.”
Kohn spoke about the implications of this decision in the article.
One of the leading whistle-blower attorneys in the country, however, is concerned about the backlash that seems to be growing against informants and the provision under Dodd-Frank that was meant to protect them.
“Most corporate directors and senior managers hate whistle-blowers,” charges Steve Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblower Center and founding partner of the qui tam law firm Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto.
“You would hope corporate leaders would accept them, but they don’t. They are universally hated and despised and [corporate] culture is radically anti-whistle-blowing,” Kohn adds.