Keeping Corporations Accountable: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act
At the turn of the 21st century, United States corporations were rocked by a series of accounting and management scandals involving public companies traded on the American stock market. In response to this, the U.S. Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act in 2002. SOX aimed to protect employees who report fraud in the workplace and shielding the whistleblower from retaliation for their reporting of illegal corporate activity.
Fischer Legal Group has a well-established reputation as attorneys who represent whistleblowers, regardless of the type of act under which they are making their claim. Our firm represents clients in New York and Florida, and our experience as business litigators makes us formidable counsel who is ready to take on companies or organizations, who would lash out at an employee who wants to expose wrong-doing. We have represented a number of clients under SOX and understand how to successfully achieve their goals and protect their career and wellbeing from reprisals.
How SOX Protects Corporate Whistleblowers
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act protects employees who report six types of illegal corporate activity:
- Mail fraud
- Securities fraud
- Wire fraud
- Fraud committed against a bank
- Violations of any rule or regulation established by the Securities Exchange Commission
- Breaking any federal law that relates to fraud against the shareholders of public companies
To begin a SOX claim, the whistleblower does not have to go directly to the SEC; they may also report it internally, to Congress or to law enforcement agencies.
Fighting Retaliatory Actions Under SOX
If your report of wrong-doing under SOX leads to being fired or demoted, you have the right to file a claim with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA will investigate and determine if the employer is guilty. If the company is found to be guilty of retaliation, they have 180 days to negotiate a settlement with the whistleblower and compensate them for damages such as:
- Being rehired
- Restoring lost benefits
- Receiving back wages plus interest
- Special damages related to loss of professional reputation
If a settlement cannot be reached within 180 days, the whistleblower may sue in federal or state civil courts.
Protect Yourself During The Whistleblowing Process
Our firm can guide you through the OSHA investigation and settlement process and represent you in court if a lawsuit is required to secure your compensation. Call us at 212-577-9231 or use our intake form to schedule a confidential consultation.