The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission say they have received 50 percent more tips this year when compare to fiscal year 2012. That’s more than 4,400 tips from concerned whistleblowers hoping to gain protection and award money from the SEC. 62 percent of awarded whistleblowers were current or former industry insiders, using their unique perspective to alert authorities to corporate wrongdoing.

This number is seen as a raving success for the SEC. In previous eras, it was difficult to convince insiders to come forward with concerns because they feared retaliation. With protection from the SEC and tempting award money amounts, more and more people are coming forward with information.

The SEC estimates they will likely award future whistleblowers with more than $220 million in payments. They issued $50 million in awards last year alone. 

This amount of money makes waves in both private and public sectors. Managers have received the message not to silence tipsters. This creates a climate that allows for less fraud and greater accountability in virtually all industries. Of course, the financial sector is among the largest targets for the SEC.

Of course, some companies say that these awards discourage employees from bringing their concerns to human resource offices to deal with misbehavior internally. While this is indeed a problematic side effect of the issue, the larger impact is inherently positive for our society. We applaud the SEC for awarding brave whistleblowers. It is a sign of a productive, ethical society that employees no longer fear doing the right thing.

Have You Witnessed Illegal Practices?

If you have been brave enough to reveal unsafe, fraudulent, or deceitful practices within your company, you should not be punished.  If you are aware of unsafe, fraudulent, or deceitful practices within your company, but have not come forward, you need guidance.  In both instances, you deserve the protection that the law affords you. Do not stand by and be bullied into silence by your company.

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