November 16, 2016

Question of the Week: Should Corporations Have Equal Whistleblower Protections to Individuals?

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

America wasn’t the only country with a big vote on November 8.  The French National Assembly voted on the same day to adopt a sweeping anti-corruption law, bringing France’s enforcement regime more in line with the U.S. and U.K. anti-corruption schemes.  The French law includes provisions to protect whistleblowers.  However, it does not provide for whistleblower rewards—similar to the U.K. model and in contrast to U.S. system.

There is one other big difference between the French law and its U.S. counterpart: France chose to specifically exclude “moral persons” (what Americans call “legal persons” like corporations, organizations, or nonprofits) from its definition of whistleblowers.  In the U.S., a corporation or an organization can be a whistleblower based on the theory that sometimes it is an association of people who discover a wrongdoing.  The Volkswagen emissions scandal, for example, was uncovered by an organization.  Whistleblower suits may also be brought by a market player when the competition’s willingness to cheat the system leaves it unable to compete fairly. 

The French law does not provide for these scenarios.  Then again, because there is no reward in the French law, perhaps the definition of whistleblower is purposefully narrowed to only cover those who may most need anti-retaliation protections.

What do you think?  Should Corporations Have Equal Whistleblower Protections to Individuals?

Should Corporations Have Equal Whistleblower Protections to Individuals?

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