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Practice Areas • Practices • Sarbanes-Oxley Act

The corporate-whistleblower provision that protects employees and puts employers at risk

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (or SOX) was enacted in response to a series of high-profile financial scandals that occurred in the early 2000s at companies such as Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco. The Act, which is designed to improve corporate governance and accountability, prescribes (among other things) how, and for how long, corporations must maintain their business records, including electronic records and messages. It also contains provisions dealing with the alteration, destruction, and falsification of business records, and prescribes penalties for violating the rules.

Whistleblower protections

To encourage the reporting of violations, SOX includes comprehensive protections for corporate whistleblowers. While numerous federal statutes provide remedies for wrongfully discharged employees, SOX goes considerably further. Among its most important additional protections are the following:

  • a requirement that publicly traded companies establish procedures for the confidential filing of whistleblower complaints with an internal, independent "audit committee";
  • a provision permitting whistleblowers to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor alleging unlawful retaliation;
  • amendments to federal obstruction-of-justice laws that criminalize retaliation against whistleblowers who provide "truthful information" to a "law enforcement officer" about the "commission or possible commission of any Federal offense"; and
  • a grant of jurisdiction to the SEC to enforce, and to impose criminal penalties for violating, any SOX provision, including whistleblower-related provisions.

Thinking about blowing the whistle?

Reporting suspected violations of SOX, or for that matter any employer misdeeds, is never an easy decision. After all, both your job and your reputation are at stake. The comprehensive anti-retaliation protections that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act affords are designed to make this decision a little easier.

The Chandra Law Firm LLC’s lawyers have successfully represented numerous employee whistleblowers. Founder and managing partner Subodh Chandra, a former federal prosecutor and City of Cleveland law director, leads the firm’s employment practice and knows exactly how to leverage an employee’s desire to "do the right thing" to minimize risk and maximize benefit. We are also prepared to represent persons and companies under investigation for or charged with SOX violations.

You can reach our firm, which serves clients throughout Ohio and beyond, by calling 216-578-1700 or by filling out our online contact form.

Making the right choice in legal representation can make the difference in whether you achieve a result that protects your legal rights and best interests.

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