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DOL Clarifies that SOX protects Employees of Subsidiaries of Publicly Traded Companies

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In Andrews v. ING North America Insurance Corp., the Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) held that a subsidiary of a publicly-traded company can be a covered employer under the whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”) i.e., SOX coverage is not limited solely to direct employees of publicly traded companies.  Plaintiffs Andrews and Barron, employees of ING North America Insurance Corporation (“ING NAIC”), alleged that ING NAIC and its parent company ING Groep, N.V. (a publicly traded company), conspired to terminate them for reporting security problems with ING’s computer network. OSHA and an Administrative Law Judge dismissed their complaint based on a finding that ING NAIC is not a publicly traded company.  The ARB reversed and remanded, concluding that Barrons and Andrews are entitled to demonstrate that ING NAIC can be covered under SOX as an agent of a publicly traded company.

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