Workers Paying More Attention to FCPA Violations

The percentage of workers who say they witnessed Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations at their firms almost doubled from 2009 to 2011 as post-financial crisis regulations have enhanced awareness and enforcement of the anti-bribery law, according to a report from the Ethics Resource Center (ERC).

In 2011, 9 percent of respondents to the biennial ERC survey said they had witnessed FCPA violations, up from 5 percent in 2009.

“There are several things that could contribute to this rise,” said Patricia J. Harned, director of the ERC, a nonprofit that conducts independent research on ethical practices. “More organizations are doing business with foreign officials. Given the current regulatory environment, we know the FCPA is a big topic among regulators and business leaders, who are doing more training of employees who might be exposed to these violations.”

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act created a new FCPA enforcement unit under the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and offered significant bounties to whistleblowers who report this and other misconduct.

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