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The Hide No Harm Act increases jail time and fines for corporate officers who knowingly conceal information that may harm consumers and workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representative Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA) introduced bicameral legislation to hold corporate wrongdoers accountable for knowingly withholding information that risked the lives or safety of consumers and workers. Under the Hide No Harm Act, a corporate officer who conceals information about an action or product that poses the danger of serious physical injury or death would face up to five years in prison as well as potential fines. The legislation would also safeguard corporate whistleblowers by protecting from criminal liability those who chose to report potential dangers to federal regulatory agencies.

“No consumer should have to fear that products they use are unsafe and no worker should have to fear repercussions for taking steps to remove unsafe or dangerous products from the market. This bill will hold corporate officers accountable for shielding information on faulty products from the public and protect those workers who speak out from retaliation,” said Sen. Casey.

“Corporate actors that knowingly endanger their workers or the public deserve more than a slap on the wrist,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “Corporations and employees aware that products may cause serious harm have a responsibility to report it. Faulty auto parts, defective kids’ toys, and contaminated infant formula are among the many products that have cost lives when kept on the market for too long. Our legislation will hold accountable corporate executives who prioritize profits over public safety and protect brave whistleblowers from retaliation. I’m proud to join Senator Casey and Representative Scanlon in this bicameral effort to stop corporate greed and negligence.”

“When companies break the law, the people in charge rarely face serious consequences,” said Rep. Scanlon. “Time and again, we see companies sell dangerous or fraudulent products, pay out a settlement, and continue with business as usual. The corporate executives who make these decisions should not be let off the hook. I’m proud to join Senators Blumenthal and Casey in introducing the Hide No Harm Act to impose criminal penalties on executives who knowingly conceal the dangers of their products or workplaces.”

Irresponsible corporations have repeatedly endangered their workers and the general public by covering up information about potential risks and harms associated with their products. Automakers hid the dangers of faulty ignition switches and airbags, pharmaceutical companies pushed their opioids knowing they’ll be abused, toy manufacturers continued to sell rockers that caused infant deaths, and infant formula executives were slow to improve safety standards before selling their products to parents. The Hide No Harm Act would hold corporations responsible for these preventable, high-level failures where corporate executives knew of the risks.

The Hide No Harm Act is endorsed by Public Citizen and the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards, a national alliance of more than 160 consumer, labor, scientific, research, good government, faith, community, health, environmental, and public interest groups — representing millions of Americans.

“Countless lives have been lost because corporations intentionally hid life-threatening dangers to the public. The litany of devastating examples like the Boeing 737 Max airplane crashes, the Big Pharma induced opioid epidemic, and the recent infant formula safety crisis, are sadly endless,” said Lisa Gilbert, Executive Vice President of Public Citizen and Co-Chair of the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards. “Over and over again, fines – even historic ones – have proven to be ineffective at holding corporate actors accountable and ensuring they don’t break the law again. We need tough new criminal penalties for those at the top. The Hide No Harm Act would protect the public by holding individual corporate executives accountable with jail time. Bad actors must be punished, and Congress should pass this commonsense law immediately.”

The text of the Senate legislation can be found here. Companion legislation has been introduced in the House.