01.28.16

Leahy-Grassley Amendment To Protect Whistleblowers Earns Unanimous Support In Judiciary Committee

WASHINGTON (Thursday, January 28, 2016) – The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously approved an amendment coauthored by U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to ensure that companies cannot intimidate whistleblowers by threatening them with lawsuits for trade secret theft.

Leahy and Grassley have long worked together to strengthen whistleblower protections.  Their amendment, which was added to the bipartisan Defend Trade Secrets Act, protects whistleblowers who share confidential information in the course of reporting suspected illegal activity to law enforcement or when filing a lawsuit, provided they do so under seal.                                                                  

“Whistleblowers serve an essential role in ensuring accountability.  It is important that whistleblowers have strong and effective avenues to come forward without fear of intimidation or retaliation.  The amendment I authored with Senator Grassley takes another important step in our bipartisan efforts to protect whistleblowers and promote accountability,” Ranking Member Leahy said.

“Too often, individuals who come forward to report wrongdoing in the workplace are punished for simply telling the truth.  The amendment I championed with Senator Leahy ensures that these whistleblowers won’t be slapped with allegations of trade secret theft when responsibly exposing misconduct.  It’s another way we can prevent retaliation and even encourage people to speak out when they witness violations of the law,” Chairman Grassley said.

The Leahy-Grassley amendment is supported by the Government Accountability Project and the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

The Defend Trade Secrets Act, coauthored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) was unanimously approved by the committee.  Results and a webcast of Thursday’s executive business meeting can be found online.

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