SEC Whistleblower Program

Anonymous Whistleblowing

Sometimes the best protection against retaliation is to report possible securities violations anonymously.

Protecting a Whistleblower from Retaliation

It’s not uncommon for whistleblowers to fear retaliation. Neither is it unfounded.

Since 2009, retaliation has been the number one charge reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. More concerning, in 2018, the Ethics & Compliance Initiative announced that rates of retaliation for reporting suspected wrongdoing had doubled over the prior two years.

So here’s the whistleblower’s dilemma: If individuals are to take a meaningful role in repairing a broken workplace, they can’t be trapped in a vicious sandbox worrying about name-calling.There is no place for bullying in a civilized society, for a respectable employer.

Whistleblowers are also eligible for employment protections, learn more here.

How Can Whistleblowers Remain Anonymous?

Those of us at the SEC who played a part in shaping the whistleblower program knew that providing whistleblowers with an avenue to report misconduct anonymously would provide a sense of safety and security. To do so, a whistleblower must be represented by an attorney and must provide the attorney a copy of the whistleblower submission signed under the penalty of perjury. The attorney will verify the identity of the whistleblower before any information is submitted to the SEC; serve as an intermediary between the SEC and whistleblower during any investigation and related enforcement action; and, in the case of a successful enforcement action, advocate for the highest potential monetary award. Prior to receiving any monetary award, for eligibility, tax and other reasons, whistleblowers must disclose their identity to the SEC.

Once an SEC whistleblower provides this identifying information to the SEC, the Commission is required by law to make every effort to protect this sensitive information.

Can I file an SEC Whistleblower Program tip without legal counsel?

Anyone can report possible securities violations to the SEC directly without hiring a lawyer. However, if a whistleblower wishes to remain anonymous, pursuant to the program rules, they must retain a lawyer.

Is there evidence I should not share with the SEC?

SEC whistleblowers who wish to remain anonymous must carefully eliminate potentially identifying information from all SEC communications and filings. Even if the initial whistleblower submission was anonymous, subsequent disclosures of potentially identifying information may make it difficult or impossible for the SEC Staff to protect a whistleblower’s identity. Several years ago, a whistleblower’s identity was unintentionally revealed when, during an SEC investigation, a company executive was presented with documentation and recognized the whistleblower’s handwriting.

For more information, visit our FAQ page.

To request a case evaluation, or call us at (212) 907-0700

Approximately 50% of our clients elect to file their submissions anonymously

Thank you for submitting some email to us.