Whistle-Blowers: Threat or Asset? (Boehme quoted)

Whistle-Blowers: Threat or Asset? (Boehme quoted)

Dori Meinert – HR Magazine – April 1, 2011

whistle asset

Cheryl Eckard repeatedly warned senior managers at GlaxoSmithKline that defective drugs were being produced at its Puerto Rico plant. Rather than address the problems, they fired her.

Eckard filed a whistle-blower suit. Last October, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $750 million to settle criminal and civil complaints that the company knowingly sold contaminated drugs made at the now-closed plant. Eckard received $96 million.

The number of whistle-blower suits—and the related payouts—have been growing in recent years under federal and state laws aimed at uncovering fraud and protecting the public. Corporate lawyers fear another surge of whistle-blower complaints will result from passage of the Dodd-Frank Act. The law, which significantly increases rewards and protection to those blowing the whistle on securities violations, affects publicly held companies and their private subsidiaries and affiliates.

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