One Possible Lasting Effect of #MeToo Movement: A Rise in Whistleblower Reports

Best Lawyers recently had a thoughtful article in its “All Rise” newsletter in which they tied a seeming increase in whistleblower reports (specifically SEC whistleblower reports) to the #MeToo movement that came to the forefront several years ago.

Since 2012, when the SEC handed out its first whistleblower award, the agency has handed out more than $1 billion in payouts to whistleblowers and collected nearly $5 billion in sanctions. The pace at which these awards have been coming has been faster in the last couple years. In Fiscal Year 2021, the agency issued a total of $564 million in awards to 108 whistleblowers, more than it had in the previous 10 years combined.

Why is this happening, exactly?

Analyzing the increase in whistleblower awards

The article posits that one such reason could be the current presidential administration is more serious about pursuing financial wrongdoing and rewarding whistleblowers.

There have also been suggestions that whistleblowers have been more likely to report information while working from home during the pandemic and thus having a greater sense of distance from (and greater security) their respective companies.

But others suggest this is part of a larger cultural shift in a society that has been emboldened by speaking out about wrongdoing by the #MeToo movement. The movement, which began as a women’s movement to speak out against sexual assault and harassment and most notably took down movie mogul and sexual criminal Harvey Weinstein, has had far-reaching effects that may have entered the worlds of business and government.

Whistleblowers are simply more emboldened to speak up, and the support and protection they now get from the federal government has further enhanced that boldness.

For more information about the SEC whistleblower program and how you can blow the whistle on wrongdoing within your company, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.