Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Protect Whistle-Blowers Reporting Antitrust Crimes

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By Yin Wilczek

June 17 — Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) June 17 introduced legislation to protect whistle-blowers who report criminal antitrust violations.

The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act would bar employers from retaliating against employees who provide information to the Department of Justice regarding misconduct under the criminal antitrust laws, the lawmakers said in a joint release.

The bill (S. 1599) would allow employees who believe they are the victim of employer retaliation to file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor. If the secretary finds in favor of the employee, he or she is entitled to reinstatement.

Rooting Out Wrongdoing 

“We’ve seen how whistleblower protections can be a real incentive to helping root out waste, fraud and abuse,” Grassley said in the release. “This can be another tool in the toolbox to stop individuals who are looking at criminal antitrust activities.”

Leahy also noted that whistle-blowers are often key to alerting law enforcers, Congress and the public to misconduct in many areas. The bill “does exactly that by offering meaningful protection to those who blow the whistle on illegal behavior such as price fixing,” he said. “I hope Congress will finally enact this legislation this year.”

The senators introduced similar legislation in 2013 during the previous Congress that was passed by the Senate, but ultimately languished.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yin Wilczek in Washington at ywilczek@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan Tuck at rtuck@bna.com

Text of the bill is available at http://op.bna.com/car.nsf/r?Open=ywik-9xktnu.