Are Internal Complaints Protected by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act?
To discover that your company or colleague may be engaging in investment schemes or other violations of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can be devastating. You might be unsure what you should do next. Should you keep the information you have to yourself? Or, should you report your tip to the SEC and risk retaliatory action from your employer?
In any case, there are steps you can take to tip off the SEC and inform your employer of your suspicions while reducing the likelihood that you’ll be retaliated against. Continue reading to learn more about how you can report your findings internally and be protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).
The Purpose of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
The SOX Act was implemented for a number of reasons, but the most notable of which is requiring corporations to put internal compliance programs into effect, and protect whistleblowers who are willing to provide these tips from being retaliated against by their employers.
In the past, many publicly traded companies had no way for their employees to report tips about securities violations without their identities becoming known. When a whistleblower would provide information, they would then be subjected to retaliation from their employer.
When the SOX Act took effect, companies were obligated to implement internal compliance programs that gave whistleblowers the opportunity to report their tips through a hotline where they would be able to remain anonymous and therefore protected.
Retaliatory Action and the Whistleblower
Retaliation can take many forms, but when whistleblowers report their tips internally, it is not uncommon for these employees to be demoted, harassed, intimidated, have their professional reputation slandered, and even be terminated when they were simply trying to do the right thing.
Thankfully, under the SOX Act, would-be whistleblowers can report tips internally prior to going to the SEC and be protected from such retaliation. It would be well-advised for whistleblowers to first provide the information they have internally, and then immediately go to the SEC. This way, you’ll open up the possibility of winning a whistleblower award when you’ve met the necessary requirements.
Work with an SEC Whistleblower Lawyer
Before you report any tips you might have to your company’s internal compliance program, or to the SEC, get in touch with a renowned SEC whistleblower lawyer at Meissner Associates so you can do so anonymously and be protected from retaliation.
You can schedule your confidential tip evaluation today by giving our firm a call at 1-866-764-3100 or by completing the convenient contact form we’ve provided at the bottom of this page.