Search Site

SEC Clarifies Discrepancy in Whistleblower Definitions

An important milestone in U.S. whistleblower protections came last August when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) clarified some existing discrepancies in what constitutes “whistleblowers” and the protections afforded to them.

There had previously been some questions as to whether whistleblowers were entitled to protection under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act if they only reported corporate wrongdoing internally and not directly to the SEC. Additionally, members of Congress were considering extending the time period in which the SEC is able to enforce violations of securities laws beginning at the occurrence of the violation.

In a news release, the SEC stated a whistleblower does not need to report securities law violations to the federal agency to be subject to the protections afforded to whistleblowers under the Dodd-Frank Act. Reporting the violation alone is enough to be protected from retaliation. However, whistleblowers must report the violation directly to the SEC if they hope to be compensated with whistleblower awards based on the total amount of sanctions issued in the case, as well as confidentiality as outlined in the Dodd-Frank Act.

Soon after the SEC released this clarification, Sen. Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) introduced a bill that would extend the SEC’s time period for securities violation enforcements. Currently the SEC has five years after the occurrence of the violation — but under the new rule, that time period would be 10 years. This bill is most likely meant to counter the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Gabelli v. SEC, which ruled the five-year statute of limitations for such enforcements should begin at the occurrence of the violation, not at the discovery of it.

If you have any questions about whistleblower protections available under the Dodd-Frank Act, contact an experienced Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.

Awards & Honors
Our Office
  • Dallas Office
    4514 Cole Ave
    Dallas, Texas 75205
    Phone: 214-306-8045
    Fax: 469-729-9926
As Seen In
In his new book, "Standing Up to China: How a Whistleblower Risked Everything for His Country," former client & Author, Ashley Yablon, quotes Attorney Steve Kardell about Whistelblower Law.
  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.