Total Recall: The Need For CPSC Reform Now July 2008 Page 9 Congress Has Consistently Supported Whistleblower Protections That Have Not Imposed Burdens On Industry Since 2002, Congress has passed four laws to protect private-sector whistleblowers: Sarbanes- Oxley (publicly-traded corporations); Pipeline Products Safety Act; Energy Policy Act (nuclear power and nuclear weapons industry); and the 9/11 law (ground transportation workers). To prove their case, whistleblowers must prove retaliation, and the employer will win even then by showing it had other, independent, reasons for firing, or reassigning the employee. Given these legal hurdles, industries now covered by whistleblower laws have not experienced problems firing employees. For example, only 3 percent of Sarbanes-Oxley lawsuits ended with the whistleblower winning his or her case. And whistleblower laws have not prompted thousands of employees to file whistleblower complaints. In the first 3 years after Sarbanes-Oxley was passed, only 491 employees out of 42 million employees working at publicly-traded corporations even filed a case. Conclusion The conference committee, in the last several months, has taken historic and important steps to improve consumer safety. But the remaining unfinished provisions are among its most critical and necessary. Congress should reject special interest demands to block or weaken these provisions and must finish action on the CPSC Reform Act before the August recess. Endnotes 1 On a positive note, the committee has tentatively discussed holding a meeting to consider some or all of these items this week. 2 Some of the 2007 recalls, including tainted pet food, tainted toothpaste, meat, and automobile tires, were not of CPSC-regulated products. 3 ASTM International, formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials, is a voluntary standards development organization that includes members from industry, government and consumer groups. 4 See the report “2007: The Year of the Recall,” Kids In Danger, February 2008, available at http://www.kidsindanger.org/publications/reports/2008_Year_of_the_recall.pdf (last visited 16 July 2008). 5 See the report “Still Not Safe,” by Consumers Union, 15 May 2008, available at http://www.consumersunion.org/pdf/StillNotSafe.pdf (last visited 16 July 2008). 6 One page quarterly CPSC recall chart for use by CPSC Office of Information and Public Affairs, states at top “last updated 7/7/2008,” on file with authors. 7 Information on the Family Dollar Magnetic Dart Boards was provided to the CPSC in the 22nd annual “Trouble In Toyland” report, November 2007, U.S. PIRG. The Henry Gordy Magnetic Dart Boards listed above are a similar product sold in the same stores. In addition, the PIRG report identified hazardous “Super Magnets” by MTC, which were recalled on 22 December 2007 (2,800 units). Trouble In Toyland is available at http://www.toysafety.net (last visited 16 July 2008). 8 For example, under existing law, any time that Congress establishes a mandatory standard, such as the new law’s limit on lead exposure, those limits become a preemptive federal standard. But this preemption has never extended to state testing regimes.