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New Senate bill protects whistleblowers in antitrust cases

Last Monday, the U.S. Senate approved a bipartisan bill designed to prevent retaliation against whistleblowers who provide tips about criminal price-fixing to the Department of Justice.

The co-authors of the bill, Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Lahey (D-VT), also wrote the whistleblower provisions contained in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which provide significant protections to corporate whistleblowers, particularly employees at publicly traded corporations.

"Current law encourages self-reporting of criminal antitrust activity, yet it doesn't provide any protections for innocent thirs parties who blow the whistle on such activity," Grassley said about the new antitrust whistleblower protections.

The bill was introduced back in January, and it was based on recommendations from a Government Accountability Office report released in 2011. This report detailed how price-fixing can harm consumers and the entire national economy.

The bill enables employees who believe they are in danger of being retaliated against for the report of price-fixing information to file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor. It requires that the employee be reinstated if the Secretary finds in the employee's favor.

Leahy and Grassley said consumers win when the laws foster greater choices and lower prices. "Our bipartisan bill will help to ensure that criminal violations of these laws do not go unreported."


Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog. She can be reached here.