On November 4th, the Senate voted unanimously to expand whistleblower protections in criminal antitrust cases by passing the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act (CAARA).  This bill provides whistleblower protections to so-called innocent third party whistleblowers. 

For many years, federal law has protected whistleblowers who were themselves participants in criminal antitrust violations, but has not provided such protections to third party whistleblowers.  CAARA bridges this gap by giving federal whistleblower protection to employees who lodge complaints with the U.S. Department of Labor if they suspect that they have been retaliated against for cooperating with the U.S. Department of Justice in a criminal antitrust investigation.  It also allows whistleblowers to bring suit in a U.S. District Court if the Department of Labor fails to take action within 180 days of the whistleblower’s complaint.  Remedies available to whistleblowers under the proposed law include reinstatement, back pay with interest, and any other special damages suffered as a result of any discrimination including litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney’s fees. 

The bill is now before the House.  We will continue to track the developments in the House and will keep our readers informed of any future developments.