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THE PARADOXICAL APPROACHES TO WHISTLEBLOWING: 
AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVES

INTERNATIONAL ROUNDTABLE

This hybrid international roundtable, which was entitled "The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives," aimed to explore, from a pan-Atlantic perspective, the moral and legal paradoxes inherent in a society where whistleblowers play a crucial role in uncovering unlawful and unethical actions within both private and public organizations while simultaneously encountering challenges, such as retaliation, which can even be an expression of the state's punitive power.

The event was co-organized by Paul Fiorelli (Xavier University), Costantino Grasso (Manchester Law School), and Donato Vozza (Roehampton Law School).

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The first session was moderated by David Banisar (Visiting Senior Fellow, London School of Economics), while the second session was moderated by Dorothy Kwagala-Igaga (Vice Head, Roehampton Law School).

During the event, the experts delved into the complexities of whistleblower protection and reporting mechanisms in both the American and European contexts. They provided historical context, legal insights, firsthand experiences, and corporate perspectives to highlight the challenges, ethical dilemmas, and successes associated with whistleblowing. The presentations underscored the crucial role of whistleblowers in uncovering fraud and malpractice, while also addressing concerns about retaliation and the need for trust in reporting systems. Through analysis of legal frameworks, cultural biases, and organizational dynamics, the event examines the paradoxical nature of whistleblower protection, emphasizing the ongoing struggle to balance organizational interests with values and fundamental rights. Overall, the event provides a nuanced exploration of whistleblower protection, transparency, and accountability in both American and European contexts.

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VIDEO RECORDINGS

PRESENTATION 1

Speaker: Paul Fiorelli, Director of Cintas Institute for Business Ethics and Professor of Legal Studies at Xavier University
Title: An Overview of U.S. Whistleblowing Laws, the False Claims Act, Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank 

In his presentation, Prof. Fiorelli discussed US whistleblowing laws, focusing on various acts like Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley, along with the SEC hotline. He delved into the historical context, tracing back to Abraham Lincoln's time, and emphasized the importance of whistleblowers in uncovering fraud and malpractice, particularly in government contracts and financial sectors. The presentation focused on the debate over whether reporting should be internal or external entities like the SEC. He also addressed concerns about retaliation and the need for trust in reporting systems. Prof. Fiorelli concluded by highlighting the SEC's efforts in incentivizing whistleblowers and the importance of the awards given to them.

Suggested Citation

BLUEBOOK: Paul Fiorelli, ‘An Overview of U.S. Whistleblowing Laws, the False Claims Act, Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives, CORPORATE CRIME OBSERVATORY, at [00:00] (March 4, 2024), www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

APA: Fiorelli, P. (2024, March 4). ‘An Overview of U.S. Whistleblowing Laws, the False Claims Act, Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Retrieved from www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

HARVARD: Fiorelli, P. (2024) ‘An Overview of U.S. Whistleblowing Laws, the False Claims Act, Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Available at: www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

OSCOLA: Paul Fiorelli, ‘An Overview of U.S. Whistleblowing Laws, the False Claims Act, Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives, (Corporate Crime Observatory, 4 March 2024), video recording at​ [00:00] <www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox>

PRESENTATION 2

Speaker: Costantino Grasso, Associate Professor in Business and Law at Manchester Metropolitan University
Title: The Quest for Truth: The Tortuous Journey of the EU Whistleblower Directive 

Dr. Grasso’s presentation delved into the paradoxical nature of whistleblower protection, focusing on the European context.  It elaborated on how the obstacles to the adoption and implementation of the EU Whistleblower Directive serve as a compelling case study to illustrate this paradoxical situation. By examining the challenges encountered in enacting whistleblower protections within the European Union, the audience gained insight into the intricate interplay of competing interests, cultural biases, and entrenched power dynamics. Through this analysis, the expert underscored the complexities inherent in promoting transparency and accountability, despite the societal recognition of whistleblowers as essential agents of change. Dr. Grasso then concluded by analyzing the cultural, organizational, and political dimensions underlying the resistance to whistleblower protection, emphasizing the need for societal change to ensure transparency and accountability.

Suggested Citation

BLUEBOOK: ​Costantino Grasso, ‘The Quest for Truth: The Tortuous Journey of the EU Whistleblower Directive,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives, CORPORATE CRIME OBSERVATORY, at [00:00] (March 4, 2024), www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

APA: Grasso, C. (2024, March 4). ‘The Quest for Truth: The Tortuous Journey of the EU Whistleblower Directive,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Retrieved from www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

HARVARD: Grasso, C. (2024) ‘The Quest for Truth: The Tortuous Journey of the EU Whistleblower Directive,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Available at: www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

OSCOLA: Costantino Grasso, ‘The Quest for Truth: The Tortuous Journey of the EU Whistleblower Directive,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives, (Corporate Crime Observatory, 4 March 2024), video recording at​ [00:00] <www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox>

PRESENTATION 3

Speaker: Martin Woods, The Wachovia Whistleblower
Title: I did once before, I would do it again, but not for money 

Martin Woods’ presentation provided a firsthand perspective on whistleblowing within the context of the financial sector, offering insights from a whistleblower with experience spanning the United States and Europe. It underscored the challenges and ethical dilemmas faced by whistleblowers, highlighting the complexities of navigating legal frameworks and societal perceptions. Through anecdotes and analysis, the speaker shed light on the paradoxical nature of whistleblower protection, emphasizing the need for systemic reform to ensure accountability and transparency in corporate and governmental institutions.

Suggested Citation

BLUEBOOK: ​Martin Woods, ‘I did once before, I would do it again, but not for money,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives, CORPORATE CRIME OBSERVATORY, at [00:00] (March 4, 2024), www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

APA: Woods, M. (2024, March 4). ‘I did once before, I would do it again, but not for money,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Retrieved from www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

HARVARD: Woods, M. (2024) ‘I did once before, I would do it again, but not for money,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Available at: www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

OSCOLA: Martin Woods, ‘I did once before, I would do it again, but not for money,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives, (Corporate Crime Observatory, 4 March 2024), video recording at​ [00:00] <www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox>

PRESENTATION 4

Speaker: Martha Sarra, Vice President & Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at The Kroger Co.
Title: Practical Considerations for Managing a Whistleblower Program 

Martha Sarra’s presentation offered insights from a Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at Kroger, focusing on the importance of internal whistleblower mechanisms within corporate compliance programs. The speaker discusses the challenges and successes of whistleblower programs, highlighting the need for companies to proactively address misconduct and unethical behavior. Through six recommendations, including proper administration, anonymity, awareness, prompt response, thorough investigation, and follow-up with reporters, the speaker advocates for a corporate culture that fosters transparency and accountability, ultimately benefiting stakeholders, employees, customers, and the community.

Suggested Citation

BLUEBOOK: ​Martha Sarra, ‘Practical Considerations for Managing a Whistleblower Program,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives, CORPORATE CRIME OBSERVATORY, at [00:00] (March 4, 2024), www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

APA: Sarra, M. (2024, March 4). ‘Practical Considerations for Managing a Whistleblower Program,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Retrieved from www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

HARVARD: Sarra, M. (2024) ‘Practical Considerations for Managing a Whistleblower Program,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Available at: www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

OSCOLA: Martha Sarra, ‘Practical Considerations for Managing a Whistleblower Program,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives, (Corporate Crime Observatory, 4 March 2024), video recording at​ [00:00] <www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox>

PRESENTATION 5

Speaker: Donato Vozza, Senior Lecturer in Law at Roehampton University
Title: The Right of Whistleblowers Not to Be Punished and the State-Corporate Failure to Protect 

Dr. Vozza’s presentation delved into the paradoxical nature of whistleblower protection, particularly focusing on the European perspective. It highlights the crucial role whistleblowers play in uncovering misconduct and the ethical dilemma they face, often risking retaliation, investigation, and prosecution. The speaker questioned whether whistleblowers are effectively shielded from punishment in Europe, considering the multi-level legal framework and the influence of international organizations. Through analysis of legal instruments and cases, the presentation explored the tension between punishing whistleblowers and safeguarding fundamental rights, emphasizing the importance of balancing corporate interests with whistleblower protection. Using examples like the LuxLeaks case, Dr. Vozza underscored the need for clearer legal frameworks and a nuanced understanding of freedom of expression to ensure effective whistleblower protection in Europe.

Suggested Citation

BLUEBOOK: ​Donato Vozza, ‘The Right of Whistleblowers Not to Be Punished and the State-Corporate Failure to Protect,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives, CORPORATE CRIME OBSERVATORY, at [00:00] (March 4, 2024), www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

APA: Vozza, D. (2024, March 4). ‘The Right of Whistleblowers Not to Be Punished and the State-Corporate Failure to Protect,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Retrieved from www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

HARVARD: Vozza, D. (2024) ‘The Right of Whistleblowers Not to Be Punished and the State-Corporate Failure to Protect,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Available at: www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

OSCOLA: Donato Vozza, ‘The Right of Whistleblowers Not to Be Punished and the State-Corporate Failure to Protect,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives, (Corporate Crime Observatory, 4 March 2024), video recording at​ [00:00] <www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox>

PRESENTATION 6

Speaker: Mary Inman, Partner at Whistleblower Partners LLP, San Francisco
Title: The Case for Whistleblower Rewards: How the Prospect of a Financial Safety Net Can Tip the Scales toward Speaking Up 

In her presentation, Mary Inman, an expert in representing whistleblowers in North America, discussed the significance and functioning of whistleblower reward programs in the United States and Canada. She provided insights into the history, structure, and success of these programs, emphasizing their role in incentivizing individuals to report valuable information to government agencies. Mary Inman highlighted the effectiveness of these programs in recovering billions of dollars in fraud cases and underscored the importance of encouraging internal reporting within organizations. She also addressed misconceptions about whistleblower programs and demonstrated how they complement internal reporting mechanisms rather than undermining them. Additionally, her presentation touched on recent developments in the UK, indicating a growing interest in implementing similar reward programs. Overall, the expert provided a comprehensive overview of whistleblower reward programs, their impact, and their potential for adoption in other jurisdictions.

Suggested Citation

BLUEBOOK: ​Mary Inman, ‘The Case for Whistleblower Rewards: How the Prospect of a Financial Safety Net Can Tip the Scales toward Speaking Up,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives, CORPORATE CRIME OBSERVATORY, at [00:00] (March 4, 2024), www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

APA: ​Inman, M. (2024, March 4). ‘The Case for Whistleblower Rewards: How the Prospect of a Financial Safety Net Can Tip the Scales toward Speaking Up,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Retrieved from www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

HARVARD: Inman, M. (2024) ‘The Case for Whistleblower Rewards: How the Prospect of a Financial Safety Net Can Tip the Scales toward Speaking Up,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Available at: www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox

OSCOLA: Mary Inman, ‘The Case for Whistleblower Rewards: How the Prospect of a Financial Safety Net Can Tip the Scales toward Speaking Up,’ - International Roundtable - The Paradoxical Approaches to Whistleblowing: American and European Perspectives, (Corporate Crime Observatory, 4 March 2024), video recording at​ [00:00] <www.corporatecrime.co.uk/whistleblowing-paradox>

VIDEO RECORDINGS
1. Paul Fiorelli: An Overview of U.S. Whistleblowing Laws, the False Claims Act, Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank
2. Costantino Grasso: The Quest for Truth: The Tortuous Journey of the EU Whistleblower Directive
3. Martin Woods: I did once before, I would do it again, but not for money 
4. Martha Sarra: Practical Considerations for Managing a Whistleblower Program
5. Donato Vozza: The Right of Whistleblowers Not to Be Punished and the State-Corporate Failure to Protect
6. Mary Inman: The Case for Whistleblower Rewards: How the Prospect of a Financial Safety Net Can Tip the Scales toward Speaking Up 
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