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(th Circuit decision expands whistleblower protections

New York employees may be interested to learn that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that employees who make reports internally about violations the company or another employee may be involved in are covered by the whistleblower provisions under the Dodd-Frank Act. This means that employees do not have to file a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission to still be protected against retaliation.

In the case, the employer argued that, because the employee had only reported his concerns internally and not to the SEC when he was terminated, he was not protected under the Dodd-Frank Act. The appellate court ultimately sided with the employee and determined that those who only reported internally were still protected against retaliation.

Under section 21F of the Dodd-Frank Act, employers are prohibited from threatening, harassing or discriminating against a whistleblower. If employees suffer retaliation that is considered to be in violation of this provision, there may legal options. They could potentially seek to be reinstated in their original position, may be reimbursed for the legal costs and could be entitled to two times the back pay they are owed plus interest.

If an employee reports suspected misconduct to their employer and are facing termination and other retaliatory actions as a result, an employment attorney may help. The attorney may file a lawsuit against the employer and provide evidence that they violated the whistleblower provisions under the Dodd-Frank Act. If the attorney cannot negotiate with the employer or the employer is refusing to reach a settlement, the attorney may use aggressive litigation to get the case resolved. If the evidence that retaliation occurred is sufficient, the employer could potentially get their job back and be fully compensated for the damages.

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