14 October 2015

Appeals court in US: internal whistleblowers are also protected against retaliation

Against all odds, an appeals court in the US has ruled that whistleblowers who report misconduct internally are protected from retaliation under the Dodd-Frank Act.

In August 2015, the Security and Exchange Commission issued new guidelines stating that the anti-retaliation provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act should not only apply to whistleblowers who directly report to the SEC, but also to those reporting misconduct to individuals within the company. The SEC then urged courts to follow that interpretation. The appeals court in this case was not expected to do so, as several courts have had different views on this issue. These varying views and the fact that the appeals court’s decision was not unanimous increase the likelihood of a review by the Supreme Court of the United States. Although this is not yet an open-and-shut case, it is important to keep in mind that any harm or discrimination of internal whistleblowers could have financial and employment law consequences.

Click here to read the full text of the court decision of 10 September 2015 in Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy LLC.

Click here to read the contribution “SEC urges courts to extend retaliation protection to internal whistleblowers” in the previous edition of In context.

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