Whistleblower Law Blog

TELG Principal Quoted in Law360 Regarding New Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Regulations

The Employment Law Group® law firm principal attorney Nick Woodfield was quoted in a Law360 article regarding the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) recently published interim final rules.  These rules implement the changes made to the whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) as mandated in last year’s Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Among the changes in the interim final rules is a provision allowing SOX whistleblower complaints to be submitted in either oral or the traditional written format, though corporate attorneys have called the new regulation permitting oral complaints unfair, attorneys who represent employees see the new approach as consistent with Supreme Court precedent.  Law360 reports:

Attorney Nick Woodfield of The Employment Law Group®, a firm that represents employees, said the rule was simply following the reasoning of the U.S. Supreme Court’s March ruling in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., which held that the Fair Labor Standards Act shielded workers from retaliation for verbal as well as written complaints.

Arguing that the regulations should interpret the term “complaint” in a manner that’s inconsistent with the Supreme Court doesn’t make sense, and gripes about allowing SOX claimants to bring oral complaints “would have been a lot better taken before the Kasten decision,” Woodfield said.

“While it’s lowering the bar to get into the administrative hearing process, it’s really just making it consistent with other threshold civil rights complaint pleading standards,” he said.

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