Fifteen years ago, GAP successfully persuaded Congress to include a whistleblower protection provision in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). The purpose of Section 806 of SOX is to combat a “corporate code of silence,” which “discourage[s] employees from reporting fraudulent behavior.” Congress sought to empower whistleblowers to serve as an effective early warning system and help prevent corporate scandals. GAP has played a leading role in litigating the scope of SOX whistleblower protection and successfully lobbied for enhancements to SOX in 2010, including an amendment clarifying the right to a jury trial for corporate whistleblowers.
On the fifteenth anniversary of the enactment of SOX, Zuckerman Law, a leading whistleblower law firm, has issued a guide to SOX titled “Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection: Robust Protection for Corporate Whistleblowers.” The guide summarizes SOX whistleblower protections and offers concrete tips for corporate whistleblowers based on lessons learned during years of litigating SOX whistleblower cases.
The goal of the guide is to arm corporate whistleblowers with the knowledge to effectively combat whistleblower retaliation, avoid the pitfalls that can weaken a SOX whistleblower case, and formulate an effective strategy to obtain the maximum recovery.
Lead author Jason Zuckerman has set important precedent defining the scope of SOX and has donated substantial time drafting amicus curiae briefs and raising public awareness of whistleblower protections. Zuckerman served on the Department of Labor’s Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee and as Senior Legal Advisor to the Special Counsel at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the federal agency charged with protecting whistleblowers in the federal government. In conjunction with GAP, Zuckerman filed a rulemaking petition with DOL to combat corporate muzzling of whistleblowers. That petition resulted in OSHA issuing new guidance on settlement approval in whistleblower cases. Click here to read the petition.
Zuckerman Law has also issued a guide to the SEC Whistleblower Program titled “SEC Whistleblower Program: Tips from SEC Whistleblower Attorneys to Maximize an SEC Whistleblower Award,” which offers practical tips for whistleblowers and insights that the firm has gained in representing whistleblowers before the SEC.
The rules implementing the SEC Whistleblower Program are complex and there are many potential pitfalls for whistleblowers. The objective of this guide to the SEC Whistleblower Program is to enable whistleblowers to quickly grasp the key facets of the program and highlight key steps that whistleblowers should take to increase the likelihood of recovering and maximizing an SEC whistleblower award.
Tom Devine is Legal Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.