On May 22, 2017, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) amended Part 165 of its regulations, which govern whistleblower incentives and protections. In addition to strengthening existing anti-retaliation protections for whistleblowers, the amendments also prohibit employers from restricting employees from reporting potential violations of the Commodity Exchange Act directly to the CFTC. This prohibition extends to the enforcement or threatened enforcement of confidentiality agreements and pre-dispute arbitration agreements to prevent employee communication directly with the CFTC.  By this action, the CFTC is more closely aligning its whistleblower policies with those of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has pursued enforcement actions against companies for using restrictive language in confidentiality agreements.

The Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on May 30, 2017 and will become effective July 31, 2017.