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Will the Supreme Court Finally Settle Arguments over Whistleblower Protections?

There’s a chance that the scope of the whistleblower protections outlined in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 could be analyzed and determined by the U.S. Supreme Court. Recently, a Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision created a split in the judges, which means intervention from the Supreme Court could be seen as necessary.

In 2013, the Fifth Circuit ruled that an employee could not receive protections under the statute because he reported the alleged wrongdoing internally rather than to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This past September, the Second Circuit ruled in the opposite direction, saying internal complaints do in fact qualify for protection under Dodd-Frank, whether or not they were reported to the SEC.

An ongoing debate

The Dodd-Frank law as enacted was not completely clear about the protections for employees who act as whistleblowers. Section 78u-6(a)(6) of the law defines a whistleblower as being any person who “provides two or more individuals acting jointly who provide information relating to a violation of the securities laws to the Commission, in a manner established, by rule or regulation, by the Commission.”

This element of the definition of a whistleblower has been at the crux of numerous debates on the scope of such protections. Does a person qualify for protections if he or she makes reports outside of the SEC? The U.S. Supreme Court could shed some light on the intent of the rule and whether it actually protects internal whistleblowers.

For more information and insights on this issue and the processes associated with filing whistleblower claims, contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Whistleblower Law for Managers in Dallas, Texas.

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  • "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.

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