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Uniform Corporate Whistle Blower Protection Act No. 236

Adopted 1993
Reaffirmed 1994
Reaffirmed 1996
Reaffirmed 1997
Reaffirmed 1998
Reaffirmed 1999
Amended 2001
Amended 2003
Reaffirmed 2004

Whistleblowers are workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse in the workplace. They are the life-blood of law enforcement against white-collar crime and they create a safer and healthier environment for co-workers and members of the surrounding community. However, tens of millions of employees helping to enforce public health and safety laws at work can be fired "at will" if they report their concerns. Currently, federal whistleblower laws serve only as a patchwork collection of protections that excludes many industries, and leaves most private sector employees unprotected from reprisals. The federal laws that are in place are woefully inadequate, providing little in the way of protection.

Furthermore, millions of workers in critical public safety areas such as aviation, food processing, nuclear weapons production, hospital and medical care, drug and medical device manufacturing, and pesticide application have no federal statutory whistleblower protection whatsoever. Americans for Democratic Action applauds the enaction of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, specifically section 806, "Protection for employees of publicly traded companies who provide evidence of fraud." This act ensures whistleblower protection by requiring organizations to establish multiple avenues for reporting compliance concerns, to develop a hierarchy of people for employees to whom to report concerns.

Still, the Act only provides a minimum safety net for corporate whistleblowers, evidenced in its requirement to report complaints within ninety days. ADA has long supported legislation such as the Employee Health and Safety Whistleblower Protection Act, which creates free speech protections for all private sector, state, and local government employees against discrimination, so that they are able to help enforce federal health and safety laws. This Act extends the same protections for state, local, and private employers as those passed unanimously by Congress in 1989 under the Whistleblower Protections Act for federal workers.

ADA will closely monitor the implementation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as continue to support the adoption of federal, comprehensive, uniform corporate whistleblower protection legislation.

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No. 236
Politics and Government Commission