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On Jan. 12, 2021, Bloomberg ran a story by authors Matt Robinson and Ben Bain about a surge in whistleblowing tips received by the SEC since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the resulting widespread lockdown in the country. The number of tips received by the SEC in its last fiscal year, which included the beginning of the outbreak and roughly 7 months of lockdown, increased by over 30% from the prior fiscal year.
The authors consulted Jordan Thomas about why this may have happened. Jordan observed that employees likely feel more emboldened while working from home since they don’t have to share hallways and the watercooler with co-workers who may be involved with corporate wrongdoing or blind (or apathetic) defenders. He further observed that collecting evidence becomes a lot easier when meetings are conducted virtually.
The article also reflects on the effect that prior awards have had in encouraging whistleblowers, as well as the staunch protection given to their anonymity. In the latter respect, the article notes that Jordan has had clients use voice-changing technology in interviews to further ensure that they remain anonymous.