Conflicting Rulings about SOX’s Scope Cause Private Company Employees to Stay with DOL Adjudication

The Administrative Review Board (ARB) for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued a decision regarding the scope of the whistleblower protections under Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). In Spinner vs. David Landau and Associates, SOX’s whistleblower protections were extended to employees of contractors of publicly-traded companies. The ARB specifically mentioned its disagreement with a majority decision in Lawson v. FMR, LLC, 670 F.3d 61 (1st Cir. February 3, 2012). Because of this disagreement, the ARB Spinner decision provides a detailed opinion intended to rebut the Lawson case majority. In the Lawson case, the First Circuit addressed two investment advisors who worked for a private company that provided services as a contractor to a publicly-held mutual fund.

Whistleblower retaliation is on the rise according to a September 2012 survey of ethics and compliance officers, human resources, internal auditors, legal counsel and other senior executives conducted by NAVEX Global. This increase occurs in part because workers and employers now view retaliation in a broader light.

Additional detail and key quotes regarding both cases and the study referred to above are in this article.


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