Whistleblowers have become essential, particularly in the securities and financial industries, as these markets are often flooded with different types of fraud and schemes. Whistleblowers who become aware of these types of fraud can report their tips to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and potentially win a substantial whistleblower award as long as certain criteria are met.
However, many would-be whistleblowers have no choice but to refrain from reporting due to the very real fear that they will be terminated. If this sounds like what you’re going through, you aren’t alone. The good news is that there are ways that you can become a whistleblower and still keep your job.
Read on to learn more about why obtaining legal representation is critical and how you can report your tip while protecting your identity and your job security.
Every corporation is required to have an internal compliance program, as described in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). This means that employees will have the opportunity to report information regarding securities fraud and other violations anonymously and even through a hotline.
However, it may not be difficult for your employer to figure out who reported a specific tip, and if they do discover it was you, you may be subjected to retaliatory action, such as termination, demotion, harassment, destruction of your professional reputation, and other types of retaliation.
For this reason, it is important that you retain an SEC whistleblower lawyer before you move forward with reporting your tip both internally and to the SEC.
The SEC allows would-be whistleblowers to remain anonymous in their reporting. However, in order to do so, the whistleblower must have a whistleblower lawyer who can act as the point person between the SEC and the whistleblower.
That way, the SEC can still communicate, albeit indirectly, with the whistleblower whenever they need to. The best way to keep your job when acting as a whistleblower is to do everything you can to protect your identity from becoming known. Although it is against the law for companies to retaliate against whistleblowers, that doesn’t stop it from happening.
If your identity becomes known and your employer retaliates against you, your lawyer will be able to take legal action against them. Some of the different penalties they could face include hefty fines imposed by the SEC. They could be ordered to reinstate you in your former position, be ordered to repay you double back pay, and even face additional restitution for any other damages you may have suffered.
Your lawyer will do everything possible to ensure that your identity remains unknown so you can keep your job and go about your life as normally as possible, all while acting as a whistleblower.
If you have information about securities violations or fraud in the financial markets and you are worried about losing your job if you come forward, contact a respected SEC whistleblower lawyer at Meissner Associates. You can give our office a call at 1-866-764-3100 or complete our quick and confidential contact form to schedule your confidential tip evaluation.