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Supreme Court to bring clarity to whistleblower protection

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2017 | Whistleblower Protection

A Supreme Court case could clarify the legal protections for whistleblowers. The ruling could help employees in Florida understand their rights when they believe that they need to report corporate misconduct. The case involves a former employee of a real estate investment trust. He claimed that he was fired after reporting violations of Sarbanes-Oxley securities laws to senior management.

Believing his dismissal to be an act of retaliation, the man filed a lawsuit and cited the Dodd-Frank Act, which establishes protection from retaliation for whistleblowers. His former employer contested his claim on the basis that he never reported the alleged wrongdoing to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company has argued that a whistleblower must report to the SEC in order to gain a protected status.

There is an SEC regulation that specifically applies the Dodd-Frank Act to employees who inform either their employers or the commission about corporate wrongdoing. It encourages people to report allegations to their employers prior to involving government regulators. Other federal appeals courts have been inconsistent in their rulings about when a whistleblower becomes entitled to protection from retaliation, which has resulted in the issue reaching the Supreme Court.

A person who discovers illegal activity at work might need Boca Raton, Florida, whistleblower legal help before making a decision about how to proceed. He or she could describe the issue to an attorney, who could then research whether it was illegal. If the issue appears to violate regulations, a lawyer could assist the person with reporting the misconduct to the SEC. An attorney also could take action to protect his or her client’s position at work, which could include filing a lawsuit if retaliation takes place.