How Boards Can Make Whistle-Blowers Be Heard (Boehme quoted)

How Boards Can Make Whistle-Blowers Be Heard

Tony Chapelle – Agenda Week – March 30, 2009

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Recent moves by the SEC and Congress to improve the process for handling whistle-blower complaints put the onus on boards to make sure whistle-blowers have a voice at their companies, say corporate compliance professionals.

The SEC recently proposed a cash bounty for those who turn in private sector financial fraudsters. Meanwhile, Congress included broader whistle-blower protections in its just-passed stimulus bill.

Audit committees are duty-bound to give employees an outlet for complaints about questionable practices. Yet six years after Sarbanes-Oxley required boards to open channels for whistle-blowers, the pipelines often are clogged. Directors should consider raising their in-house watchdogs to C-suite status, some compliance pros say.

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