Sarbanes Oxley Act

Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)/Corporate Whistleblower Protections

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) provides protection for corporate whistleblowers. Read about major cases, statutes, regulations, and legislative history below. 

18 U.S.C. 1514A.

29 C.F.R. part 1980.

SOX Cases

Department of Labor, Office of Administrative Law Judges, Whistleblower Collection (including collections of SOX decisions).

Legislative History and Background

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act as enacted on July 30th, 2002.

Anti-retaliation provision.

House Conference Report (July 24, 2002).

Senate Banking Committee Report (July 3, 2002).

Senate Judiciary Committee Report including analysis of the Whistleblower Provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Major SOX Cases

Department of Labor Rules at 29 C.F.R. Part 1980 [Complaint filed with U.S. Department of Labor within 180 days of adverse action. Reinstatement, back pay, special damages, and attorney fees permitted.]

Sylvester v. Parexel International, 2007-SOX-39/42 (DOL ARB 2011)(major decision establishing broad definition of protected disclosure and “good faith” requirements; liberal rules for filing initial complaints). However, some federal courts have not applied these standards. Riddle v. First Tenn. Bank, No. 11-cvv-6277, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 18684 (6th Cir. Aug. 31, 2012) (unpublished).

Johnson v. Siemens, 2005-SOX-15 (DOL ARB 2011) (broad definition of employers covered under SOX, including subsidiaries)

Stone v. Instrumentation Laboratory, 591 F.3d 239 (4th Cir. 2009) (claims can be removed to federal court after pending in Labor Department for 180 days).

Van Asdale v. International Game Tech., 577 F.3d 989 (9th Cir. 2009) (Scope of protected activity).

Collins v. Beazer Homes, 334 F.Supp. 2d 1365 (N.D. Georgia 2004) (burden of proof; inclusion of state claim; protected activity).

Jordan v. Sprint, 2006-SOX-41 (DOL ARB, September 30, 2009) (Attorneys protected as whistleblowers under the statute).

Wiest v. Lynch, No. 11-4257 (3d Cir. Mar. 19, 2013) (standard of proof for a protected disclosure)

Lawson v. FMR, U.S. 12-3 (March 4, 2014) (Independent contractors employed in the mutual fund industry are protected under Sarbanes-Oxley)

Sarbanes-Oxley Act Rules of Professional Responsibility for Attorneys [Requirement that attorneys disclose wrongdoing and limitations on Attorney-Client privilege.]

SEC Rules implementing law; 17 C.F.R. 25.1, et seq.

Van Asdale v. International Game Tech., 577 F.3d 989 (9th CIr. 2009) (in-house attorneys can file whistleblower retaliation suits).

SARBANES-OXLEY ACT – Extraterritoriality

Blanchard v. Exelis SystemsCorporation/Vectrus Systems Corp, ARB No. 15-031, 2014-SOX-020 (DOL ARB, Aug. 29, 2017) (SOX § 806 anti-retaliation provision applies extraterritorially)

Banking Industry Whistleblower Protection Cases

12 U.S.C. § 1790b (Credit Unions) 12 U.S.C. § 1831j (FDIC Insured Institutions) 31 U.S.C. § 5328 (Monetary Transactions)

Haley v. Retsinas, 138 F.3d 1245 (8th Cir. 1998)

Frobose v. American Savings and Loan, F. 3d 602 (7th Cir. 1998)

Rouse v. Farmers State Bank, 866 F. Supp. 1191 (N.D. Iowa 1994) (interpreting law broadly to protect whistleblowers.

Related Materials

New OSHA Guidance Clarifies Impermissible Restrictions On Whistleblowing (September 12, 2016)

OSHA Finalizes Whistleblower Retaliation Complaint Procedures Under Sarbanes-Oxley (March 25, 2015)

OSHA Fact Sheet on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Whistleblower Attorneys

Stephen M. Kohn – Founding Partner

Michael D. Kohn – Founding Partner

David K. Colapinto – Founding Partner

Mary Jane Wilmoth – Managing Partner

Todd Yoder – Associate Attorney

Kelsey Condon – Associate Attorney

Maraya Best – Associate Attorney

Siri Nelson – Legal Fellow

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