Sarbanes Oxley Whistleblower
In the wake of several corporate scandals in the early 2000s, especially the accounting scandals at Enron and WorldCom, the United States government enacted the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. While there are numerous provisions in the law, specific wording allows for the protection of corporate whistleblowers. Many consider the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to be one the of most important whistleblower protection laws ever passed.
Previous whistleblower laws were often limited to providing legal remedy for wrongfully dismissed employees. While Sarbanes-Oxley does cover such a contingency, there are also four additional provisions. First, all publicly traded companies must create internal, independent audit committees, with established procedures where employees can file an internal whistleblower complaint while protecting their anonymity.
Second, the Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower protection sets down new ethical guidelines for lawyers who practice before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Under this section, attorneys are required to blow the whistle on their clients. Third, the law expanded protection regarding protecting whistleblowers from retaliation to every employer across the nation, not just publicly traded corporations. Fourth, the law grants jurisdiction in all matters related to whistleblowing to the SEC, and provides criminal penalties for violations of the act.