When the SEC issued the final rules implementing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, employers feared the huge risks stemming from the Commission’s position on internal reporting. In short, to be eligible for a potential bounty, employees are not required to make an internal complaint to their organization before they can go to the SEC with concerns about unlawful conduct or retaliation related to federal securities laws.
Despite the firestorm of frightening headlines, a recent survey conducted by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) and the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) showed that Dodd Frank’s impact on corporate compliance programs has been significant, but not in the ways experts predicted. Rather than take a wait-and-see approach, legal and compliance professionals confronted their fears head on. Their weapon of choice? Increased communication and training.
- 75% of respondents indicated that they have increased communication to employees about opportunities to report wrongdoing
- 46% of respondents indicated increased communication to managers about how to handle employee allegations of complaints
- 74% of those surveyed expect to continue increased employee communications
- 68% of respondents expected to continue increased manager communications
So why is it so essential to train folks about your complaint process? Shouldn’t employees already know what to report and how to report it? Truth is, many may not even know that you have a process, or that you expect them to speak up. And unless you continually remind them to report any concerns immediately and internally, they may let a serious issue fester or find someone on the outside (like a lawyer or an enforcement agency) to speak up for them. With the aggressive outreach to potential whistleblowers by both government agencies and the plaintiffs’ bar, we are in a literal communications war, fighting for the attention and mindshare of employees. Your organization cannot remain silent on these issues.
Don’t leave your employees in the dark. Let them know that you want to hear from them, and teach your managers exactly what to do when employees report concerns. And make sure that everyone understands that retaliation is never tolerated!
ELT has just released a brand new Whistleblowing, Reporting & Retaliation course that will help your organization communicate these important lessons and bolster your internal compliance program. Full motion video, exciting storylines, and engaging interactive exercises help teach your employees and managers about your reporting procedures, how to make a report, and that retaliation is never allowed. Managers also learn how to properly handle reports about conduct that may violate laws such as SOX, Dodd-Frank, the False Claims Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Title VII and the FLSA.