The Grassley/Leahy Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act of 2017 was unanimously voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning and will now go to the Senate floor. The bill has passed the full Senate unanimously twice before, but has never been taken up in the House.
The bill is an important first step in creating protection for individuals who report criminal antitrust activity. I have advocated for a stronger whistleblower statute (here) (here) that would provide a possible financial incentive for a whistleblower to help defray what could be the substantial legal bills that may accompany involvement in an antitrust investigation, as well as provide possible reward for actionable information. But, certainly an anti-retaliation provision should be part of any whistleblower statute. This legislation will be a good start if the House can be persuaded to join the Senate and pass the bill.
Below is the text of the statute
Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act of 2017
This bill amends the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004 to prohibit an employer from discharging, demoting, suspending, harassing, or in any other manner discriminating against an employee, contractor, subcontractor, or agent of such employer (covered individual) who: (1) provided information to the federal government or a person with supervisory authority over the covered individual (or such other person working for the employer who has the authority to investigate, discover, or terminate misconduct) concerning a violation of antitrust law or of another criminal law committed in conjunction with a potential violation of antitrust law or in conjunction with an antitrust investigation by the Department of Justice; or (2) filed, testified, participated, or otherwise assisted in an investigation relating to such a violation. This protection does not extend to any covered individual who planned and initiated such a violation or an obstruction to its investigation.
A violation with respect to the antitrust laws shall not be construed to include a civil violation of any law that is not also a criminal violation.
A covered individual who alleges discharge or other discrimination by an employer in violation of such prohibition is authorized to seek relief: (1) by filing a complaint with the Department of Labor; or (2) if Labor has not issued a final decision within 180 days of such filing, by bringing an action at law or equity in the appropriate U.S. district court. A covered individual who prevails in any such action is entitled to all relief necessary to make such individual whole, including reinstatement with the same status, back pay plus interest, and compensation for special damages sustained
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