Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Protections for Whistleblowers of Antitrust Crimes
WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee this week unanimously passed legislation to extend whistleblower protections for employees who provide information to their employer or the Department of Justice regarding criminal antitrust violations. The Criminal Antitrust Anti-retaliation Act was introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy.
“Whistleblowers who call attention to violations of antitrust laws play an important role in correcting misconduct that may harm businesses, consumers and the economy. The Criminal Antitrust Anti-retaliation Act shields these brave individuals from retaliation and intimidation in the workplace, and may also discourage future misconduct. I’m grateful for the work of my colleagues in the Judiciary Committee to move this bill forward,” Grassley said.
“Whistleblowers are often instrumental in alerting the public, Congress, and law enforcement agencies to wrongdoing in a variety of areas. These individuals take risks in stepping forward and deserve to be protected from retaliation,” Leahy said. “Congress should encourage employees with information about criminal antitrust activity to report this information. The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act does exactly that by offering meaningful protection to those who blow the whistle on illegal behavior such as price fixing. I hope the Senate will soon take up this important measure.”
The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act establishes protections for whistleblowers in criminal antitrust cases by prohibiting employers from retaliating against an employee who provides information to the employer or the Justice Department regarding conduct that violates the criminal antitrust laws. The bill allows an employee who believes he or she is the victim of retaliation to file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor, and provides for that employee to be reinstated to their former status if the Secretary finds in their favor. Grassley and Leahy authored similar whistleblower statutes as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002.
The Senate unanimously passed a similar version of the legislation last Congress. The legislation is based on recommendations from a Government Accountability Office report released in July 2011.