By Richard Hill
The CFTC may file enforcement actions against employers that retaliate against whistle-blowers, under rule changes adopted May 22.
The amendments to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s whistle-blower regulations also bar employers from preemptively forbidding their employees to communicate with the agency. The new rules, adopted unanimously by the two-member commission, additionally create a claims review process that will make initial determinations about whether a whistle-blower award should be granted or denied.
The rule amendments are intended to nudge reluctant whistle-blowers into coming forward with their suspicions. Companies, however, may be concerned that would-be whistle-blowers will be further encouraged to bypass internal compliance procedures and go straight to the government with insider information.
When it first adopted its whistle-blower rules in 2011, the CFTC said it didn’t have statutory authority to bring an enforcement case against an employer for violating anti-retaliation prohibitions. Now, however, the agency said it believes it has the “general authority” to prosecute such cases as violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. Nothing in the whistle-blower rules suggest that a private right of action by a whistle-blower is exclusive, the CFTC said.
The new interpretation should encourage more whistle-blowers to come forward, Erika Kelton, a partner at Phillips & Cohen, Washington, who represents whistle-blowers, told Bloomberg BNA in an email. The rule changes “indicate that the CFTC under the new administration is committed to protecting whistle-blowers, which whistle-blowers should find encouraging,” she said.
The rules against employee agreements mirror those of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Kelton said. “The SEC has actively enforced those rules and levied penalties, and I expect the CFTC to do the same,” she said.
The new rules will go into effect 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register.
To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Hill in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phyllis Diamond at email@example.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)