Whistleblowing in the Compliance Era

74 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2020 Last revised: 5 Feb 2021

See all articles by Jennifer M. Pacella

Jennifer M. Pacella

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

Leora F. Eisenstadt

Temple University - Fox School of Business and Management

Jeffrey R. Boles

Temple University - Department of Legal Studies in Business

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

International events over the last year have propelled the importance of whistleblowers to the forefront. It is increasingly evident that whistleblowers provide immense value to society.
Yet, for years, whistleblowers have been victims of retaliation, commonly experiencing threats, discrimination, and employment termination due to their reporting. Against the backdrop of a society heavily defined by compliance-focused initiatives—where organizations and industries construct robust compliance programs, internal policies, and codes of conduct—this Article highlights a significant gap in legal protections for would-be whistleblowers. While compliance
initiatives demonstrate that active self-regulation is increasingly a staple of organizational governance, this Article pinpoints the problems that arise when such initiatives extend
beyond applicable legal thresholds for retaliation protection. This over-extension leaves vulnerable employees and potential whistleblowers without legal recourse following adverse employment actions, even if they comply with their employers' internal policies and compliance programs. We examine this gap in legal protections in the context of compliance initiatives in three domains: equal employment opportunity and sexual harassment; securities fraud; and anti-corruption. We then compare these initiatives with the legal and regulatory compliance postures under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, respectively, to illustrate how most compliance initiatives fail to mirror the retaliation protections under those statutes. To remedy this gap in protections, we propose complementary solutions under contract and tort law frameworks, coupled with soft law initiatives

Keywords: whistleblowing, compliance, employment law, anti-corruption, anti-bribery, securities law, governance

Suggested Citation

Pacella, Jennifer M. and Eisenstadt, Leora F. and Boles, Jeffrey R., Whistleblowing in the Compliance Era (2020). 55 Georgia Law Review 147 (2020). , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3536680 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3536680

Jennifer M. Pacella (Contact Author)

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business ( email )

1309 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Leora F. Eisenstadt

Temple University - Fox School of Business and Management ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

Jeffrey R. Boles

Temple University - Department of Legal Studies in Business ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.fox.temple.edu/mcm_people/dr-jeffrey-boles/

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