March 30, 2020

What Happens if a Whistleblower Is Wrong?

On occasion, whistleblowers come forward with information about what they believe is a potential securities violation, but the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finds no violation.

This leaves whistleblowers wondering what will happen to them both with the SEC and with the company they reported. If this sounds like a position you’ve found yourself in, read on.

SEC Investigates

When you provide a tip to the SEC, officials will interview you about the possible violation and how you obtained the tip in question and ask you to provide as much information as possible to support your claim. This might include specific names, dates, documents, and anything else you can think of that will substantiate your findings.

If, after reviewing the information you provided, the SEC determines that an investigation into the matter should occur, the commission will act on it. Investigators will not move forward with an investigation if they don’t believe there is a reason to. This is because the Office of the Whistleblower is a relatively small one, and it can only act on tips it reasonably believes can result in enforceable action.

If the SEC does not see reason to move forward, you don’t have anything to worry about in terms of the commission. Investigators might not inform you about the status of your tip, but no action should be taken against you.

Protections from Retaliation

Many whistleblowers have a very reasonable fear of retaliation from their employers, particularly if the company they work for finds out they made an incorrect report to the SEC.

The Dodd-Frank Act provides protection against retaliation from your employer. This includes wrongful termination, harassment, demotion, the creation of a hostile work environment, or damaging your professional reputation. With a lawyer’s help, you could also remain anonymous as you report your tip in order to prevent your identity from becoming known.

Essentially, if you came forward with honorable intentions as a whistleblower and were not making a false report, there are no legal ramifications to be aware of. You should be cognizant of potential retaliation by your employer; however, if your employer were to retaliate, you can fight back. Both the SEC and our office can hold employers accountable for retaliatory behavior.

Contact an SEC Whistleblower Lawyer

Mistakes happen. If you made a report to the SEC about a possible securities violation and were wrong, you shouldn’t be facing any repercussions for your good faith claim.

If you are being retaliated against by your employer and need assistance, consult with a qualified SEC whistleblower lawyer at Meissner Associates by filling out the contact form at the bottom of the page or calling our office at 1-866-764-3100.