The U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation in early November 2013 to extend whistleblower protection for employees who provide information to the Department of Justice related to criminal antitrust violations. Senator Leahy, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, explained that the Criminal Antitrust Retaliation Act provides relief for employees who have been fired or discriminated against for blowing the whistle on criminal conduct. Senator Grassley, the bill’s other co-sponsor, indicated that “current law encourages self-reporting of criminal antitrust activity, yet it doesn’t provide any protections for innocent third-parties who blow the whistle on such activity. Our bill strengthens the enforcement of criminal antitrust laws by adding a civil remedy for antitrust whistleblowers who are retaliated against.” Senator Leahy and Senator Grassley urged the House to act quickly to pass the bill.
The bill is based on recommendations from a Government Accountability Office report released July 2011. It allows employees who believe they are victims of retaliation to file complaints with the Secretary of Labor, and provides for those employees to be reinstated to their former status if the Secretary finds in their favor. Leahy and Grassley authored similar whistleblower statutes as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002. A copy of the measure approved by the Senate can be found by clicking here.