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Increasing whistle-blower claims slow resolution process: Study

Posted On: Aug. 23, 2012 12:00 AM CST

The growing number of whistle-blower lawsuits filed with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration is slowing resolution of claims, which means these workers are staying at their companies longer, according to a study by law firm Seyfarth Shaw L.L.P.

This calls for appropriate policies on the part of the companies, said James L. Curtis, a Chicago-based Seyfarth partner.

According to data analyzed by Seyfarth and released Tuesday, the number of whistle-blower cases overall grew by more than 19% to 2,648 between 2008 and 2011, while the number of completed cases increased just 0.5% to 1,948 during the same period.

Commenting on the findings, Mr. Curtis said having whistle-blowers continuing to work at their firms “creates a very delicate position for employers out there to make sure that they both appropriately handle these workplace whistle-blower companies” and investigate them, “making sure they’re maintaining a fair and balanced approach to their employees, but continuing their business down the line.”

A chart illustrating the Seyfarth study results can be seen here.

This week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said it had awarded its first payout of $50,000 to a whistle-blower as part of a new program to reward people who provide evidence of securities fraud.