Whistleblower & Sarbanes Oxley Claims
We all like to think that we would have the courage to stand up if we witnessed or were the victim of discrimination in the workplace, or if we knew that our employer was engaged in illegal activities that put coworkers or the public at risk. Unfortunately, however, the pressures imposed by corporate culture and the need for job security are difficult to comprehend for those who have never had to make the choice between standing up for what's right or turning a blind eye and quietly continuing to work. Lawmakers in Congress and in New York long ago realized the tremendous pressure employers can put upon their employees to remain silent. As a result, lawmakers legislated protections to prevent retaliation against those who report discrimination and malfeasance. Our attorneys at Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP understand these protections and can fight for whistleblowers who experienced retaliation.Types of whistleblower rights
There are numerous federal and state laws that prohibit retaliation against employees who report unlawful conduct, cooperate with regulatory authorities or otherwise exercise their legal rights. However, the scope of these protections and the actions required to utilize them depend greatly on the circumstances:
Discrimination and harassment – The Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and all their state and local analogs contain provisions that make it a separate offense for an employer to take adverse action against an employee because he or she:
- Filed a complaint
- Acted as a witness
- Cooperated with investigators
- Took any other legally protected action in response to discrimination and harassment in the workplace
Wage and hour – Federal, state and local wage and hour laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for complaining about illegal wage practices, filing agency complaints or lawsuits or otherwise cooperating with regulators.
Sarbanes-Oxley – Since 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has made it easier for employees and contractors of publicly traded companies to report suspicions of fraud or SEC rules violations both up within the company and out to regulators if necessary.
Dodd-Frank – The newer Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act allows financial industry whistleblowers who suffer adverse employment action as a result of their reporting to the SEC to sue for lost wages and other compensation. While this act is separate and distinct from Sarbanes-Oxley, there is a great deal of overlap between the two and in many ways they work in tandem.
Making the decision to become a whistleblower is never easy. However, having experienced legal counsel by your side can allow whistleblowers to move forward with confidence. Our legal team at Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP has fought for whistleblowers and victims of retaliation in all industries—from Wall Street board rooms to New York City restaurant kitchens. If you are thinking about stepping forward as a whistleblower, or have already done so and are suffering or fear suffering retaliation from your employer, contact us today at (212) 688-5640 or reach out to us online. Se habla espanol.