CFTC Approves Amendments to Whistleblower Rules Including Significant Enhancements of its Anti-Retaliation Protections

May 25, 2017

On May 22, 2017, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) unanimously approved amendments to the rules governing its whistleblower program.

Among other changes, the amendments:

  • Significantly strengthen whistleblower protections against retaliation,
  • Preclude reliance on confidentiality or arbitration clauses that would prevent employees from reporting to the CFTC,
  • Clarify that the CFTC itself may bring enforcement actions for violation of the anti-retaliation rules (in addition to private enforcement),
  • Revise and clarify the whistleblower eligibility criteria, and
  • Amend certain procedural aspects of the whistleblower program.
These revisions, which bring the CFTC’s program into greater alignment with the rules governing the whistleblower program implemented by the Securities and Exchange Commission, should be taken into account in designing corporate compliance and employment policies for companies that may be subject to CFTC oversight, as well as in the context of managing internal investigations and responding to whistleblower complaints that may implicate the federal commodities laws.