On Friday, January 6th 2017, the National Whistleblower Center filed an Amicus Brief before the Tenth Circuit in Genberg v. Porter. The Genberg case deals with the definition of reasonable belief under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). SOX requires whistleblowers to have a reasonable belief that a violation has happened or might happen in the future in order to be protected. Consequently, the standard for reasonable belief has wide-reaching consequences for whistleblowers reporting on corporate fraud and misconduct. The principal author of the brief, Stephen M. Kohn, writes about the case below:

Continue Reading Amicus Filed in Major SOX case, Genberg v. Porter

Washington, D. C. May 24, 2016. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled in favor of a corporate whistleblower in a May 20, 2016 decision. The case, filed under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act by Mrs. Dinah R. Gunther, alleged that the Virginia-based software provider, Deltek, Inc. fired her after she raised accounting concerns to the company’s General Counsel, Audit Committee and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Continue Reading Big Win for Whistleblowers in U.S. Court Of Appeals for The Fourth Circuit

The Department’s Top Judges will Decide the “Burden of Proof” Whistleblower Must Meet to Prevail in Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Cases

The Department of Labor Administrative Review Board (ARB) will hold oral arguments in the case of Powers v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, ARB Case No. 13-034 on Wednesday, January 14 at 2pm.  This case will decide the burden of proof that whistleblowers must meet in order to prevail in retaliation cases filed under the key corporate whistleblower laws, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Act’s Consumer Safety laws, transportation safety laws, the Atomic Energy Act and the Affordable Care Act, among others.

National Whistleblower Center Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn will be one of the attorneys arguing the case on behalf of the whistleblowers.  Kohn called the Powers case “monumental.”  The case is being heard en banc by all of the top Labor Department appeals court judges who have the authority to decide whistleblower cases. 
Continue Reading Department of Labor to Hold Oral Arguments on Key Corporate Whistleblower Case

Yesterday, the National Whistleblower Center joined other groups in filing an amici curiae brief with the Department of Labor Administrative Review Board (ARB) in Powers v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, ARB Case No. 13-034.  Joining the NWC as amici are the National Employment Lawyers Association, the Truckers Justice Center and Teamsters for a Democratic Union.

The ARB called for amici to file briefs in the Powers case to consider the standard of proof for employees to establish the “contributing factor” test in whistleblower retaliation cases arising under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act  (SOX) and other whistleblower statutes.  The full ARB is considering whether an earlier 2-to-1 ARB panel decision in Fordham v. Fannie Mae, ARB No. 12-061 was correctly decided.  In Fordham, the ARB reversed and vacated an Administrative Law Judge’s recommended decision that had improperly weighed employer defenses in determining whether the employee had demonstrated her whistleblowing was a contributing factor in her termination.  
Continue Reading NWC Joins Amicus in SOX Whistleblower Retaliation Case