Make Sure Disclosures Are Protected!

In February 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Digital Realty Trust v. Somers that corporate whistleblowers are not protected under the Dodd-Frank Act if they report only to internal compliance programs. The Court held that a whistleblower must report to the Securities and Exchange Commission to obtain anti-retaliation protections. Although this ruling only concerns the Dodd-Frank Act, its interpretation of this provision could apply to other whistleblower laws that don’t explicitly protect internal whistleblowers. This includes OSHA whistleblower laws, banking whistleblower laws, and most environmental whistleblower laws.

Tools to Understanding Protected Disclosures

“It is the right, as we as the duty, of every citizen…to communicate to the executive officers any information which he has of the commission of an offense against those laws…the right does not depend upon any of the amendments of the Constitution, but arises out of the creation and establishment by the Constitution itself of a national government.”

Ir re Quarles and Butler, U.S. Supreme Court (1895)
  • 17 C.F.R. Part 205, Rules of Professional Responsibility for Attorneys under the Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Scope of protected activity is based on law for which you are filing a claim. This is explained in Rules 4 – 15, 16-19