U.S. Supreme Court expands SOX whistleblower protection

March 05, 2014 1 COMMENTS

In the early 2000s, corporate and accounting scandals involving Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, and other publicly traded companies cost investors billions of dollars and prompted federal legislation to reform corporate financial practices. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) covers everything from mandatory financial disclosures to enhanced penalties for white-collar crime to requiring a company’s CEO to sign corporate tax returns. The law also includes penalties for retaliating against whistleblowers who provide information or assist in federal investigations.

Generally, SOX applies only to publicly traded companies. However, in a surprisingly entertaining opinion (at least when corporate governance and ethics are concerned), the U.S. Supreme Court expanded the law’s antiretaliation provisions to some private employers—specifically, to contractors and subcontractors performing work for publicly traded companies.

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OSHA Beefing Up Whistleblower Program

August 10, 2011 1 COMMENTS

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced changes aimed at strengthening its protection of employees who report suspected unlawful activity on the part of their employers.

The plan to correct problems with the Whistleblower Protection Program comes after OSHA conducted a top-to-bottom review prompted by audits of the program by the Government Accountability Office in 2009 and 2010. A statement from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) said problems with the program were related to its transparency and accountability, training for investigators and managers, and internal communications and audit program.

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