Sunday, December 07, 2008, 5:09 PM

4th Circuit Rules Against Employee In SOX Whistleblower Suit

This past week (Dec. 3) the Fourth Circuit, in Platone v. U.S. Dep't of Labor, concluded that the plaintiff's allegations to company management didn't qualify for whistleblower protection under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), 18 U.S.C. § 1514A, because her allegations didn't definitively and specifically relate to fraud against shareholders. An ALJ had ruled for the plaintiff, but that decision was reversed on administrative appeal. The administrative appellate body ruled that the employee had simply alerted company management to internal billing discrepancies but had not definitively and specifically alerted management to fraud. The Fourth Circuit affirmed, holding "that a complainant must alert management to more than the fact that the company’s near-term profits were affected by billing discrepancies" to qualify for SOX whistleblower protection.

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