Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX)
What is the Sarbanes Oxley Act?
Employees of publicly traded companies have added protection from retaliation, as the Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX) prohibits their employers from retaliating against them for providing information to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or a supervisor about fraud on stockholders or violations of SEC regulations. Congress passed this law in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom accounting scandals in order to encourage employees with knowledge of such fraud to come forward.
Because of these public policy origins, SOX is a powerful tool available to employees of publicly held companies to help them get back on their feet after an unlawful adverse employment action. Employees must file these claims with the Department of Labor within 180 days of the retaliation. The Department of Labor has the power to order your company to reinstate you, pay you damages, and pay your attorneys’ fees and costs.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act expanded the protections for whistleblowers and broadened the prohibitions against retaliation, including double damages and a longer statute of limitations. However, to fall under this new law, employees must report their employer’s illegal activity directly to the SEC rather than just internally to a supervisor or internal auditor.
If you are concerned about reporting your employer’s fraudulent activities or if you have reported such activity, please contact our employee rights attorneys at 704.940.6399 or 864.516.7526 or email us.