Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of becoming a whistleblower is feeling alone when you go against your company. But what if you and another colleague both decide to go to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and become joint whistleblowers? How does that change the equation?
You and a colleague can become joint whistleblowers, and you can both receive an award. (For instance, in April 2021, the SEC announced that joint whistleblowers would share a $50 million award.)
To become joint whistleblowers, you must submit the tip together, and then you’ll later need to file a joint Form WB-APP to claim an award. It can also be helpful if you share the same legal counsel to ensure you’re submitting the same information.
The joint submissions are important because SEC rules require that the information submitted be “original.” If you submit the same tips separately, it’s possible that only the first person to submit the information would be eligible for an award.
If the SEC completes an investigation that results in an award, the SEC’s default position is that both receive an equal share of the award. However, you can also petition the SEC to divide the award by a different percentage, if you believe that’s warranted.
While joint whistleblowing is possible, keep in mind there may be reasons why you would not want a joint submission. For example, the SEC takes a person’s involvement in the violation, their position of authority, and other factors into consideration when determining an award. If you and the other person have different backgrounds or other factors that impact the award, then you may not want to make a joint report… or at least you may want to address those issues in your award application.
Whether you are an independent reporter or will be reporting an issue with colleagues, don’t be a whistleblower alone. Instead, hire experienced securities attorneys to be by your side, such as those at the Silver Law Group and the Law Firm of David R. Chase. We have many years of experience in these cases, and we are here to help. For a free, confidential consultation, email us or call today at (800) 975-4345.