2013 was a transformative year in the whistleblowing and retaliation arena. In a recent Law360 article titled “Top 10 Whistleblower and Retaliation Developments in 2013,” Steve Pearlman and Harris Mufson analyzed key events that transpired over the last year.
They identified the #1 event in 2013 as the SEC Office of the Whistleblower’s bounty award of $14 million (discussed here). That significant payout underscores the power and progress of the SEC’s program. They also reiterated the potential implications of the forthcoming decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawson v. FMR LLC on the scope of the whistleblower provision in Section 806 of SOX (discussed here). That will be the first SOX whistleblower decision to be handed down by the high Court.
Pearlman and Mufson also identified key decisions and important issues under Dodd-Frank and SOX, including, for example, a Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Wiest v. Lynch employing a rather expansive interpretation of “protected activity,” and a determination from the Southern District of New York that the Dodd-Frank whistleblower provision has no extraterritorial application. In addition, they noted the recent statement from the Chief of the SEC Office of the Whistleblower to the Wall Street Journal (Risk and Compliance Journal) regarding the SEC’s authority and willingness to pursue whistleblower retaliation claims under Dodd-Frank.
We remain committed to keeping our loyal readers ahead of the curve on legal and regulatory developments concerning whistleblower and retaliation claims in 2014. The Law360 article provides steps employers should consider with that goal in mind.