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SCOTUS Curbs Whistleblower Protections

by Countable | 2.22.18

What’s the story?

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Wednesday that corporate whistleblowers must take their claims of alleged wrongdoing to the Securities and Exchange Commission to qualify for protections under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Why does it matter?

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the court, ruled that Digital Realty Trust was within their legal right to fire Paul Somers in 2014 for reporting to senior management that his supervisor was hiding cost overruns.

“Somers did not provide information ‘to the Commission’ before his termination…so he did not qualify as a ‘whistleblower,’” Ginsburg wrote.

While the high court’s decision is seen as a win for corporate America, legal experts said it may backfire.

SCOTUS’ “ruling confirms that whistleblowers who report internally are not protected from retaliation. What is now abundantly clear is that employees should get a lawyer and go straight to the SEC," Chicago attorney James Barz told the L.A. Times.

What do you think?

Should Congress amend the Dodd-Frank Act? Or should they craft a new bill to protect whistleblowers? Should whistleblowers even be protected? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: Wildpixel / iStock)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(91)
  • Countryfirst
    02/22/2018
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    Amend Dodd Frank and protect whistleblowers..they are needed more than ever now..look at the corruption running rampant in the government..cabinet positions heads of corporations and #45!!!

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  • Judith
    02/22/2018
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    PROTECT WHISTLEBLOWERS THEY ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR KEEPING OUR DEMOCRACY FROM BEING TAKEN OVER BY WHITE COLLAR CRIME !! GIVE WHISTLE BLOWERS EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW WITH HIGH DOLLAR BIG MONEY INTERESTS !!

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  • Jim2423
    02/22/2018
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    Another win for those who misuse tax payers money.

    Like (35)
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  • gwenhutch
    02/22/2018
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    Amend the Dodd-Frank Act and ensure that this loophole, and any others that may arise, are covered. Corruption should be allowed to be uncovered without a person fearing for their own livelihood, rights, etc

    Like (34)
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  • GadgetVirtuoso
    02/22/2018
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    Companies should want their employees to report wrong doing within the company and they should be a protected class for doing so. If I were the CEO of the company I’d want to know about it before the government. Amend the law to protect the honest people of the world. This should apply to all companies not just those subject to the SEC or similar governmental agencies.

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  • Robert
    02/22/2018
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    Looks like you now have to hire a lawyer to do the right thing.

    Like (24)
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  • RadicalModerate
    02/22/2018
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    Arm whistle blowers.

    Like (23)
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  • Pru
    02/22/2018
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    Amend Dodd Frank and protect whistle blowers!!!

    Like (18)
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  • Brendan
    02/23/2018
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    We must protect whistleblowers at all levels!!!!

    Like (13)
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  • Laura
    02/23/2018
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    I can’t say I’m happy with this decision, but with a unanimous ruling from this divided bench it is difficult to argue it isn’t the correct legal decision under current law. I believe any whistleblower who is able to provide verifiable useful information regarding illegal activity within a company or government agency should be protected. If amending Dodd-Frank will accomplish this then yes, amending it is the right thing to do. I’m not holding my breath though for this particular Republican controlled Congress to take action on this issue or any other issue that might impede the power of corporations to screw over their employees. They have proven time and time again where their loyalties lie, and it is definitely not with the individual worker or the American people but rather with the highest bidder. Congress, I’d dearly love for you to prove me wrong, but again, I’m not holding my breath. In the meantime, I guess if you are brave enough to speak up about corruption where you work you’d better also be financially comfortable enough to hire a lawyer first. Geez....

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  • Christopher
    02/22/2018
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    Amend Dodd-Frank, the Government simply does not have the resources to regulate an industry without the responsibility of others to report wrongdoing.

    Like (8)
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  • Brian
    02/23/2018
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    Whistleblowers should have legal protections and those protections are even more important now with he current corrupt administration

    Like (7)
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  • Michele
    02/22/2018
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    Should have seen this coming. If something is potentially harmful to big business trumps crew will find a way to get rid of it. Quietly. Shameful.

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  • BeStrong
    02/23/2018
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    Employees that are currently working at the ‘offending’ organization should be protected from termination as well as from adverse actions affecting their employment, having reported the issue through proper channels. DODD FRANK should offer this protection. Post employment complaints would require a lawyer. **I trust that RBG applied the law appropriately in this matter, which dealt specifically with a ‘previously’ terminated employee reporting, post-employment, on an infraction**.

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  • Andrew
    02/22/2018
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    PROTECT WHISTLEBLOWERS !!! CONGRESS SHOULD AMEND DODD-FRANK TO ADD INTERNAL REPORTING TO DEFINITION OF ‘WHISTLEBLOWER’ !!!!

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  • Gerald
    02/23/2018
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    If it’s a 9-0 ruling, the case was clearly determined properly. I don’t think the Republican controlled congress will change anything regardless of how we might feel because they are fed with corporate donations and their loyalty is bought and paid for. Whistle blowers should have protection but there are times when you do the right thing regardless of the consequences and I hope that still takes place until we get a Democratic Congress.

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  • Kathy
    02/23/2018
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    Whistle blowers must be protected!

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  • Rick
    02/23/2018
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    That is a double edged sword. I certainly believe that a conscientious attempt to correct an egregious practice should be protected, but it can also allow a disgruntled or a marginal employee a means of continuing their poor practices. At present I am sure there is little education given to employees regarding a legitimate way of handling such a situation.

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  • Eric
    02/23/2018
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    Whistle blowers deserve protection and should feel safe to come forward at any time.

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  • Barb
    02/23/2018
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    We are falling into an abyss of third world corruption. Please protect whistleblowers ability to report illegal activities!

    Like (3)
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