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What You Should Know About the SEC’s Whistleblower Program

For the past five years, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has run a program that offers monetary awards to any individuals who can provide useful information regarding a company’s wrongdoing. If these tips lead to SEC enforcement actions, the whistleblower could earn up to 30 percent of the total sanctions the agency levies — as long as the sanctions total more than $1 million.

The following are a few things you should know about this program:

  • Filing is easy: The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower website contains a simple six-page form asking for all the facts related to the alleged violation, why the claimant believes these acts should be classified as a violation and any additional information that could help process the action.
  • The program has paid out big: The program has offered 37 awards since its inception, but over the last two years has provided record sums and taken more total actions. This is due both to a greater quality of leads and more widespread awareness of the program itself.
  • More tips coming in: The program has encouraged would-be whistleblowers to report wrongdoing as soon as they discover it in their workplaces. Each year of the program’s existence has seen a greater number of tips coming through, which in turn has led to more successful enforcement actions. However, there is still just one award for every 500 tips that come in.
  • Protections: Whistleblowers who file claims are protected under federal law from retaliation. If an employer does retaliate in any way, whether it is in the form of firing, demotion or poor treatment in the workplace, claimants may choose to report this activity. This could land the company in even greater legal trouble.

If you would like to serve as a whistleblower under the protections offered through the Dodd-Frank Act and other federal laws, speak with an experienced Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.

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In his new book, "Standing Up to China: How a Whistleblower Risked Everything for His Country," former client & Author, Ashley Yablon, quotes Attorney Steve Kardell about Whistelblower Law.
  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.