Lexpro Research LLC, Creates Dedicated Hotline for Whistleblowers

By CIOReview | Thursday, March 17, 2016
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FREMONT, CA: LexPro Research LLC, a leading provider of domestic and international risk mitigation and business intelligence services, has created a Corporate Disclosure and Ethics Hotline for businesses aimed at providing them with the opportunity to prevent and detect fraud while protecting whistleblowers. 

 According to Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) hotlines are not typically used — yet 41percent of all fraud cases rely on tips. As the company’s corporate disclosure mentions, cases detected from tips are more than twice the rate of any other means for detection and helps identifying and neutralizing threats to firms which are critical aspects to protecting its reputation. Besides, a robust disclosure program may provide a “safe harbor,” potentially enabling firms to mitigate penalties it may otherwise face.

Using a hotline gives businesses the ability to monitor for potential fraud while also protecting whistleblowers from retaliation. The Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, and is facilitated via a toll-free number, a secure online portal, a dedicated email address, and a dedicated fax number. "It's a natural extension of what we do," said partner Michael Levien. "We are often called after a fraud has occurred; offering the hotline can potentially help detect it or even prevent it."

Implementing measures to curb whistleblower retaliations has been an important concern for Security and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Office of the Whistleblower and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As a matter of fact, the new OSHA standards released in January 2016 ‘lowers the burden of proof required for OSHA to issue a merit determination against an employer’. Prior to the issue of this new standard, an employer only need to show it would have taken the same action regardless of the [whistleblower's] disclosure and OSHA would drop the case.

The revised policies already began to bear the fruits of benefits whereby, as reported by the Associated Press, it  led to JP Morgan reinstating a whistleblower, after he was wrongfully fired when he "raised concerns over the firm's failure to properly report financial transactions to government regulators.  OSHA also insisted JP Morgan pay the employee $200,000 in back pay, medical expenses and compensatory damages.

As mentioned in PRNewsWire, LexPro Research's hotline was developed by a former special agent from the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who designed and implemented whistleblower programs for each agency.