Tuesday, May 21, 2013

SCOTUS Grants Cert. in Sarbanes-Oxley Retaliation Case

On Monday, the Supreme Court granted certiorari (order here) in Lawson v. FMR, LLC (SCOTUSblog case page here). Per the Petition for Certiorari, the Question Presented is:
Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1514A, forbids a publicly traded company, a mutual fund, or “any ... contractor [or] subcontractor ... of such company [to] ... discriminate against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment because of ” certain protected activity. (Emphasis added). The First Circuit held that under section 1514A such contractors and subcontractors, if privately-held, may retaliate against their own employees, and are prohibited only from retaliating against employees of the public companies with which they work.
The question presented is:
Is an employee of a privately-held contractor or subcontractor of a public company protected from retaliation by section 1514A?
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act generally protects "whistleblowers who disclose fraud or certain other unlawful activity to company management, to federal agencies, or to Congress." (from the Petition, citing 18 U.S.C. § 1514A).