The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has now brought its first whistleblower enforcement action against a publicly traded company under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 for utilizing an overly broad employee confidentiality agreement. Specifically, the SEC alleges that KBR, Inc., has violated the Act by implementing employee confidentiality agreements that “potentially discouraged” employees from

In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decided last week that whistleblower protection under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 includes employees of a public company’s private contractors and subcontractors. In Lawson v. FMR LLC, the court, in a majority opinion written by Justice Ginsburg, concluded that extending protection to employees of a contractor was consistent with the purpose and intent of Sarbanes-Oxley: to protect investors and restore trust in financial markets.
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court extends whistleblower protection to employees of a public company’s private contractors

Here’s a recent blog post from my partner Bill McGrath that appeared Wednesday on our sister blog – Federal Securities Law Blog. In his post, Bill discusses a recent decision from the First Circuit in which the court ruled that, while the whistleblower protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act apply to employees of public companies, they do

Publicly traded companies need to remain vigilant to avoid employment-related retaliation against employees who may complain about company violations of accounting controls and possible violations of SEC related rules or regulations. In a whistleblower case under SOX, OSHA recently ordered Tennessee Commerce Bank to reinstate its former chief financial officer and pay him more than $1 million in back wages, interest, attorneys fees and compensatory damages.

Apparently fostering the Obama administration’s push for stricter enforcement of Department of Labor and financial industry regulations, an Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA issued this statement about OSHA’s order: “This case clearly shows the Department’s commitment to ensuring individuals are provided the protections and relief forwarded by the laws and sends a strong message that retaliatory actions will not be tolerated.”Continue Reading OSHA Sends Strong Message Under SOX

The “economic stimulus bill”–formally referred to as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009–signed into law on February 17, 2009 includes a whistleblower protection provision for employees of private contractors and state and local governments who report gross mismanagement, gross waste, public safety issues, abuse of authority, or violation of law in the implementation or use of the stimulus funds.
Continue Reading Stimulus Bill Contains Whistleblower Protections for Employees of State & Local Governments and Private Employers who Receive Stimulus Funds