Employers May Face Higher Whistleblower Risks Under New Law

A new law regarding whistleblowers could mean new risks for employers. The Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Improvement Act was passed last year as part of Congress’s omnibus spending bill. The Act increases the rewards a whistleblower can receive whenever the government imposes over a $1 million fine for money laundering.

What this means for employers

The Biden administration has applauded the new law, writing that “Whistleblower protections are critical to promoting public accountability and integrity. If prospective whistleblowers do not expect to be protected, and instead fear job loss and further targeted punishment, they are deterred from raising concerns about misconduct, fraud, or corruption.”

Lawyers and policymakers anticipate that the new law will give rise to a “steady stream” of new claims from whistleblower employees. This is the latest in a growing trend—at both the state and federal level—to broaden whistleblower protections and incentives.

Practical considerations

Employers can expect that employees with evidence of wrongdoing now have a greater incentive to speak up. They should consider enhancing their whistleblower policies and investigate in training—especially for employees like front-line managers who play a key role in receiving and acting upon reports of wrongdoing.

Not only should employers improve their internal policies, but state and local laws often go beyond federal rules. New York, California and Virginia have all increased whistleblower protections in recent months, and it’s expected that other states may follow suit.

While employers often have the misperception that non-disclosure agreements and other policies protect their confidential company information, federal law allows employees to disclose that information when reporting a violation to the government. Furthermore, anyone can be a whistleblower, even if their job normally involves auditing and compliance duties.

Blowing the whistle can protect you and your fellow employees against unlawful employment practices. If you’re ready to report wrongdoing, a knowledgeable whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group can help. Call today to get started.