On August 8, 2014, the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a SOX whistleblower retaliation claim brought by a former AECOM Technology Corp. (“Company”) employee, holding that he did not engage in protected activity because he lacked a reasonable belief that the alleged conduct of which he complained violated one of the enumerated federal provisions in Section 806 of SOX. Nielsen v. AECOM Technology Corp., No. 13-0235-CV (2d Cir. August 8, 2014). Notably, however, the court abandoned the stricter standard – previously used by courts in the Circuit – that focuses on whether the employee’s protected communications “definitively and specifically” related to one of the listed categories of fraud or securities violations in Section 806.
As recently reported by Ed Benson of Law 360, on July 4th, 2014, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC” or “Commission”) issued a final order that denied a whistleblower award claim on the $18 million that the SEC recovered in a settlement agreement with Harbinger Capital Partners LLC (“Harbinger”) and the company’s chief executive Philip Falcone (“Falcone”).
According to its recent press release, OSHA issued a preliminary order requiring SpongeTech Delivery Systems, Inc. of New York (Company), a cleaning product company, to pay a complainant $31,835.33 in back wages based on its determination that she was retaliated against in violation of Section 806 of SOX. Complainant apparently…
On June 3, 2014, the SEC issued an order that awarded two whistleblowers $437,500 each pursuant to Rule 21F of the Securities Exchange Act. This Order marks the SEC’s first award of 2014, and eighth award since the program began in 2011.
The NLRB Office of the General Counsel recently issued a memorandum stating that the NLRB entered into a “referral agreement” with OSHA, which requires OSHA to inform whistleblowers that certain untimely filed retaliation claims may be actionable and timely referred to the NLRB.
According to a news release from OSHA, OSHA recently ordered DISH Network (the “Company”) to pay a former employee over $257,000 in back wages and compensatory damages, plus reasonable attorneys’ fees, and to expunge his employment record after it determined that the Company violated Section 806 of SOX.
The ARB recently affirmed an ALJ’s decision that American Commercial Lines Inc. (the “Company”) did not violate the whistleblower protection provision in Section 806 of SOX where the Company demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that its decision to discharge employee Angelina Zinn, who was an in-house attorney, was based on her insubordination. Zinn v. American Commercial Lines Inc., ARB Case No. 13-021 (ARB Dec. 17, 2013).
The SEC’s whistleblower program has received tremendous attention, but let’s not forget about the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) whistleblower program, which also was created by Dodd-Frank (here are the applicable rules). A recent article from the Risk & Compliance Journal of the Wall Street Journal provides valuable insight…