Wisconsin employees may be interested in learning more about the first-ever whistleblower payment made by the Securities Exchange Commission on April 28. The reward was given as a part of the federal government's new whistleblower rewards initiative. The recipient of the reward was a former hedge trader victimized by retaliation after he reported issues concerning internal conflicts of interests. According to the SEC, the former Paradigm Capital Management trader was also subjected to other unique hardships in addition to the retaliation.
The SEC declined to publish the whistleblower's name, but Reuters reporters already identified him in earlier reports. The owner of Paradigm opted to settle retaliation charges outside of court during June 2014 for a sum of approximately $2.2 million. The SEC was empowered to provide whistleblowers with protection from retaliation by the Wall Street reform Dodd-Frank law implemented during 2010. During April 2015, the SEC announced that the recipient of the award will receive $600,000.
The SEC says the former trader is being recognized with the milestone award because he was able to provide federal agents with critical information about his employer's misconduct and the subsequent mistreatment of employees. The law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report misconduct at the workplace. This recent announcement by the SEC could encourage other potential whistleblowers to come forward with any vital information they may have about their own employers.
Employees who have pertinent information but are wary of the risks associated with whistleblowing may benefit from contacting legal counsel for more information. Lawyers may be prepared to investigate the employee's claims and help determine whether the assertions are accurate. If a whistleblower has already began reporting the misconduct, legal counsel may be able to safeguard the employee from retaliation or any other averse actions intended by the employer.
Source: Reuters, "U.S. SEC doles out first whistle-blower award in retaliation case," Sarah N. Lynch, April 28, 2015