Trouble Brewing for Corporate Compliance

Trouble Brewing for Corporate Compliance

The United States Supreme Court has many important issues to decide in its upcoming term. Perhaps no case is more important to corporate compliance than Digital Reality Trust v. Somers, the landmark whistleblower case that will decide whether employees must actually report alleged violations to a government agency vs. just to their corporate compliance department in order to receive protection under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Should the Supreme Court decide that employees must report violations directly to a government agency then the burgeoning profession of “corporate compliance” could be virtually crippled. Indeed, in that scenario, federal and state governments would become the de facto “compliance” departments for companies both private and public.

The result of such a decision by the Supreme Court would have a seemingly catastrophic effect on companies and their employees, in that a great many more employees would be punished and/or retaliated against for trying to do the right thing. It would also leave in question anti-retaliation provisions in those states that do not have separate statutes for reporting of violations that turn out to be incorrect.

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It is well-proven that employees who fear retaliation do not blow the whistle. In the event they can suddenly be punished for doing so the only ethical thing to do is for companies to institute stringent anti-retaliation policies and train their managers and employees on not just the policies themselves, but also what to do in the event a violation is suspected and set precedent for how companies will independently handle reported violations in a positive manner.

While the odds of the Supreme Court deciding that whistleblowers must report violations to a government agency seem low, the federal government has always seemingly been at odds with the corporate compliance profession, and would like nothing more than to claw back some of the current philosophies and duties into its own pre-determined methods of compliance that were developed in the legal realm.

It is always a good idea to implement careful training programs for managers who craft policies that are impacted by changes in federal law and important Supreme Court decisions. As part of its suite of corporate compliance courseware, Syntrio provides online courses covering whistleblowing, anti-retaliation, and a variety of other topics critical to managing your business within the complicated laws governing the United States and its territories. We invite you to contact us at your convenience to learn more!

Syntrio is a leader in both the ethics and compliance field, as well as human resources and employment law, and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of compliance violations within the organization. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards compliance program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content. Contact for more information about our ethics and code of conduct online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance that impact your company!

Written by, Jon Gonzalez, Esq., Chief Counsel for Syntrio


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