Legislation introduced by senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to protect whistleblowers who shine a light on unlawful anticompetitive activities passed unanimously in the Senate last night. The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act prohibits reprisal against private-sector employees who provide information to the Department of Justice regarding conduct that violates the criminal antitrust laws.
“Competition is essential to a thriving, affordable and innovative marketplace. When our antitrust laws are violated, consumers are often left paying the price. The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act, which passed today in the U.S. Senate, encourages private-sector employees to blow the whistle on activities that violate our antitrust laws and harm consumers. This bill also protects these private-sector employees from reprisal in the workplace after coming forward with information working to protect whistleblowers, specifically in the private sector,” Grassley said.
“The Senate has once again come together to protect those who step forward to report criminal antitrust violations, such as price-fixing. Since our nation’s founding, our country has a proud history of working to protect whistleblowers, who often take on significant personal and professional risks to report fraud, abuse, and criminal activity. More work remains but I am hopeful the House will take up and pass this important legislation without delay,” Leahy said.
The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act extends whistleblower protections for employees who provide information to the Department of Justice related to criminal antitrust violations. The Senate unanimously passed a similar version of the legislation in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
The Grassley-Leahy bill is based on recommendations from a Government Accountability Office report released in July 2011. The bill allows an employee who believes he or she is the victim of retaliation to file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor, and provides for that employee to be reinstated to their former status if the Secretary finds in their favor. Grassley and Leahy authored similar whistleblower statutes as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002.
Additional original cosponsors of this bill include Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Text of the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act is available here.