Majority of Americans Would Report Workplace Misconduct

December 12, 2011 ( – A nationwide survey from Labaton Sucharow found 78% of Americans would report workplace misconduct. 

With significant financial rewards and strengthened anti-retaliation and anonymity protections offered under Dodd-Frank, the individuals who said they would report workplace misconduct said they would do so if it could be done anonymously, without retaliation and result in a monetary award.

According to the survey, more than one-third (34%) of respondents know about wrongdoing in the workplace. However, 68% are unaware the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has a new Whistleblower Program designed to protect and reward individuals who report violations of the federal securities laws.

Other survey findings include:

•  Seventy-nine percent of respondents would encourage a loved one to report wrongdoing if he/she could do so anonymously, be protected from retaliation and receive a monetary award;

•  More women (82%) than men (75%) were inclined to encourage a loved one to be a whistleblower;

•  Forty-nine percent of respondents with annual household income between $75,000-$100,000 reported they had observed, or had knowledge of, misconduct at work. This percentage dropped to 29% of those respondents with a household income above $100,000;

•  Thirty-seven percent of Caucasian respondents said they have observed or had knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace; that figure dropped to 33% for African-American respondents and 22% for Hispanic respondents;

•  Eighty-three percent of those surveyed between the ages of 45-54 would report misconduct if done anonymously, protected from retaliation and with monetary award. However, only 74% of respondents at an earlier age in their career, aged 18-34, would report, even with those protections; 

•  Sixty-eight percent of American surveyed are unaware of the new SEC Whistleblower Program. There was an eight point spread between men and women with respect to knowledge of the SEC’s whistleblower program, 64% and 72% respectively; and

•  Regionally, 66% of Americans in the South versus 71% of respondents living in the Midwest are unfamiliar with the program. Further, 67% of metropolitan residents, compared to 72% of non-metropolitan residents are unfamiliar with the program.


The survey was conducted by ORC International on behalf of Labaton Sucharow LLP between November 17-20, 2011. The survey questioned 1,000 Americans on their knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace and willingness to come forward and report it.

To request a full copy of Labaton Sucharow’s Ethics & Action Survey, e-mail