Do You Need an FCPA Lawyer?

  • Has your employer retaliated against you because you exposed corporate corruption?

  • Have you uncovered illegal activity that you wish to report?
  • Have you reported the bribery of foreign government officials by U.S. companies?
  • Do you need to protect your career because you reported your employer’s illegal or unethical conduct?

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is best known as an anti-bribery law. The law resulted from a series of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigations in the 1970s that revealed American corporations had made more than $300 million in illegal bribes to foreign officials. Though the FCPA contains a very broad anti-bribery provision, it also has a robust, complementary accounting transparency provision. A company’s books must accurately reflect the substance and value of its transactions.

The FCPA does not directly protect whistleblowers. However, many other federal laws may provide anti-retaliation protections depending on the specific circumstances. For example, Sarbanes-Oxley usually protects the employees of public companies who disclose FCPA violations. However, you may have to take additional action to safeguard your reputation and financial stability. Section 922 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act prohibits retaliation against those who make disclosures to the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC). The Sarbanes Oxley Act and the Dodd Frank Act protect employees who disclose FCPA violations internally and to the SEC. If you were fired illegally, the Sarbanes Oxley Act and Dodd Frank Act may help you to get your job back.

You may also be able to qualify for a reward for reporting information to the SEC. The Dodd Frank Act requires the SEC to pay a reward to whistleblowers who voluntarily disclose original information regarding securities law violations – including violations of the FCPA and Sarbanes-Oxley Act that lead to a sanction exceeding $1 million. In addition to the SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is also now required to reward whistleblowers who report securities fraud.

Awards for whistleblowers range from 10% to 30% of the total amount recovered by the SEC as a result of the information provided by the whistleblower. Additionally, employees who disclose information about fraudulent of unlawful conduct to the SEC are protected from retaliation by their employers.

The attorneys at The Employment Law Group® law firm are experienced in representing employees who have exposed corruption and reported their companies’ violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or violations of securities laws and SEC rules or regulations. Our attorneys have represented a wide range of individuals, including in-house counsel, portfolio managers, chief financial officers, and other executives, including a former executive who alleged that his company bribed foreign officials in violation of the FCPA.

The attorneys at The Employment Law Group® law firm are also experienced in representing employees in Sarbanes-Oxley proceedings. Several of our cases have broken new legal ground, helping to establish SOX as a pillar of workplace protection.  For example. representing two pro-employee groups, our firm’s attorneys briefed the U.S. Supreme Court before its first-ever SOX whistleblower case, which lead to a historic broadening of the law’s protection.

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Important statutes in this area of law:

Notable TELG cases in this area of law:

Most whistleblower laws that may apply in a FCPA case provide for “make whole” relief. For example, if you have suffered illegal retaliation under the Sarbanes Oxley act, you may be entitled to reinstatement in your job; back pay for lost wages; front pay for future lost wages; litigation costs and attorney fees; and other compensatory damages.

As with all legal claims, deadlines are crucial. The deadlines for pursuing a retaliation claim based on FCPA related violations can be very short. For example, under SOX, a complainant must file complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in as little as 180 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)?

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibits the bribery of foreign government officials by United States persons or companies. It also requires that covered companies’ books be accurate and transparent.

What are the risks of reporting a violation of the FCPA?

Unfortunately, blowing the whistle is a difficult experience that requires courage and perseverance. Many whistleblowers experience some form of retaliation. The retaliation can be overt or subtle, and it can threaten your career and financial well-being.

However, many anti-retaliation protections exist for whistleblowers, and you have the option to report the violation anonymously to the government.

If you have identified a violation that you are considering reporting, you should seek legal advice to discuss the method that is best for you.

What protections do whistleblowers have against the risk of retaliation?

Federal statutes prohibit a broad range retaliation, including:

  • Termination, discharge, or firing
  • Demotion
  • Suspension
  • Threatening adverse employment actions
  • Harassment
  • Any other conduct that would dissuade an employee from reporting SEC violations

How much are SEC whistleblower rewards?

The amount of the reward ranges from 10 % to 30% of the amount recovered by the SEC as a result the information provided by the whistleblower. The SEC uses the following factors to determine the amount of the reward:

  • The significance of the information provided by the whistleblower
  • The degree of assistance provided by the whistleblower
  • The interest of the SEC in deterring violations of securities laws
  • Other factors that the SEC may establish by rule or regulation

To be eligible to receive a reward, does a whistleblower have to be employed by the company committing the SEC violation?

No. Whistleblowers are not required to have worked at the company that committed the SEC violation.

If you’ve uncovered a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or SEC regulations or feel that you’ve been retaliated against because of your disclosure of such violations, call The Employment Law Group® law firm to schedule a consultation with us and, together, we’ll decide how to make the retaliation stop and how best to protect your career.