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Legislation Protecting Consumer Safety Whistleblowing Advances in the Senate

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On October 30, 2007, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation unanimously approved the CPSC Reform Act S. 2045 which includes protection for employees who disclose to the Federal government or a state Attorney General information relating to any violation of a consumer product safety standard, regulation, or order of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In addition to protecting whistleblowers form retaliation, S. 2045 rewards whistleblowers whose disclosures about consumer product safety issues result in civil penalties. Similar to the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act, a whistleblower whose disclosure to the CPSC or a state AG results in successful prosecution would receive between 15 to 25 percent of the civil penalty. Unlike the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act, however, only the government could bring an action prosecuting a violation of consumer product safety regulations or orders.

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