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Supreme Court Will Decide Whether Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protections Extend to Employees of Private Companies

Excerpt: More than a decade after passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), the Supreme Court will hear its first case interpreting provisions of the statute. In Lawson v. FMR LLC , the Court will address whether SOX's whistleblower protections apply to employees of private contractors or subcontractors...

Supreme Court Hears Whistle-Blower Appeal Oral Arguments

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (Mealey’s) The whistle-blower protection provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act protects both contractors and subcontractors working for private companies employed by public companies, the attorney representing two workers told the U.S. Supreme Court in oral arguments Nov...

The Whistleblower and At Will Employment: Timing Is Not Everything

One of the cardinal rules for employers is the documentation of performance issues. Advise the employee of the issue, and document the conversation and what was discussed. A lack of documentation, although not advisable, is not necessarily fatal as was recently shown in an unreported Michigan court of...

Split U.S. Supreme Court: Contractors, Subcontractors Protected Under Sarbanes-Oxley

WASHINGTON, D. C. — (Mealey’s) The whistle-blower protection provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) protects “employees of private contractors and subcontractors, just as it shelters employees of the public company served by the contractors and subcontractors,” a split U.S...

The Joy of SOX: What Employee Activity Is "Protected"?

Now that the Supreme Court has decided that the retaliation provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act apply, not only to employees of publicly-held companies, but also to employees of contractors who do work for publicly-held companies , I thought it might be helpful to review exactly what type of activity...

Whistleblowers and Procedural Fairness: Why Employers Should Care

The United States Supreme Court’s March 4, 2014 decision in Lawson v. FMR LLC [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers ] not only expanded the whistle-blower coverage under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2012 (“SOX”), it also stoked fears that a new wave...

One for the Whistleblower

The Michigan Court of Appeals historically has not been a good place for plaintiffs who sue under Michigan's Whistleblowers' Protection Act. When a decision goes in favor of a plaintiff, it is worth noting, even if the decision is per curiam and unreported. In Williamson v. G & K Management...

Hold the Whistle: The Status of the Contract Employee Without a Contract

In Wurtz v. Beecher Metropolitan District, 2014 Mich. LEXIS 643 [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers ], the Michigan Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals, holding that the failure to renew the contract for a fixed term employee satisfies the Michigan's...

More Time for Michigan Whistleblowers?

Under Michigan's Whistleblowers' Protection Act, a claim must be brought within 90 days of the occurrence. This is a comparatively short limitations period. Recently, however, the NLRB and OSHA entered into a memorandum of understanding(OM 14-60, 5/21/14) that provides that persons with a claim...

Justices Balk at Regulatory End Run Around the WPA

NOTE: A version of this post first appeared on Law360.com . The author, R. Scott Oswald , is managing principal of The Employment Law Group, P.C. Here’s the problem with telling the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court that they’re wrong: They always get the last word. And the last word...

A Whistleblower's Odyssey in Michigan

Bruce Whitman was the police chief for the city of Burton. His odyssey began in 2007 when he was not reappointed as the police chief in November of 2007. He filed suit under Michigan's Whistleblowers Protection Act alleging that he engaged in protected conduct in 2004 for opposing an ordinance where...

SCOTUS on Whistleblowers and Regulations

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in DHS v. MacLean [lexis.com subscribers may access Supreme Court briefs and an enhanced opinion for this case]. In 2003 (sometimes these case take a while to unfold!), a federal air marshal received a text that TSA was " cancelling all...

Internal Investigations: KBR, Inc. Fined $130,000 Over Standard Confidentiality Statement

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently issued a press release announcing its “first enforcement action against a company for using improperly restrictive language in confidentiality agreements with the potential to stifle the whistleblowing process.” At issue...

Sixth Circuit: Reasonable Belief About Unlawful Conduct Enough for SOX Retaliation

It’s hard to imagine that in the eight-plus years I’ve written this blog, there is any area of employment law that on which I have not yet touched—except, I think, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Today, that changes. For the uninitiated, Sarbanes-Oxley (or SOX) is a federal statute, enacted...

NJ Supreme Court: Whistleblower Law Protects Watchdog Employees Too

Can a person whose job is to ensure that the company follows a particular standard of care; i.e., a watchdog employee, bring an action against the company under New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the state’s whistleblower law? In case you missed it, earlier this...

Watchdog Employees May Sue Under New Jersey Whistleblower Law, Says State’s Highest Court

On July 15, 2015, in Lippman v. Ethicon, Inc. , Nos. A-65/66-13, 073324 (N.J. July 15, 2015), the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the protections of the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, N.J.S.A. §§ 34:19-1 – 34:19-8 (“NJ CEPA” or “the Act”)...

OSHA Encourages Nationwide Adoption of “Early Resolution” ADR in Whistleblower Cases

On August 18, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a directive to its regional offices to adopt “early resolution” alternative dispute resolution in whistleblower cases. The directive follows a successful pilot program by OSHA in its Chicago and San Francisco regions...

What Are the Elements of a New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act Claim?

The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, N.J.S.A. §§ 34:19-1 – 34:19-8 (“NJ CEPA”), prohibits all public and private employers from retaliating against employees who disclose, object to, or refuse to participate in certain actions that the employees reasonably...