Mary Inman, a partner in Constantine Cannon’s London office, will be presenting on behalf of the Institute of Business Ethics on June 14th about the rise in UK and EU whistleblowers making submissions under the American and Canadian whistleblower reward programs. There is currently much debate in the EU about rewarding those who speak up. On the one hand, some believe that offering cash rewards would encourage an open culture by providing assurance to those who speak up. Others are concerned that cash incentives might lead to malicious reports being made.
Yet in the US, monetary awards to whistleblowers have been available for some time and have become a very effective government enforcement tool. For example, the False Claims Act allows private citizens, known as relators, to bring a lawsuit on the government’s behalf, rewarding them with a significant portion of the government’s recovery (between 15% and 30%). In 2017 alone, the Justice Department announced that it obtained more than $3.4 billion in settlements and judgements from cases brought by whistleblowers under the False Claims Act. Since the False Claims Act was amended in 1986, the Department of Justice has recovered over $56 billion. Aside from the empirical evidence from the FCA and Dodd-Frank programs that financial incentives work, there also is a strong policy rationale for their use. They help compensate whistleblowers for what can be a difficult ordeal with a real risk of retaliation, alienation, and even blacklisting.
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