How This Supreme Court Ruling Affects Protection for Whistleblowers

By: JML Law | February 20, 2018.

In a move that could have implications for those seeking to report wrongdoing in their workplace, the Supreme Court has ruled that protection will only be offered to those reporting a potential fraud to the Securities and Exchange Commission. While wider whistleblower protection had been on offer since the financial crash of 2008, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg ruled that the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 referred clearly to reporting “to the commission”, which has not been taken to mean the Securities and Exchange Commission. While the Court stated that Congress may have wanted to provide wider protection, only those whistleblowers who made reports to the SEC are now covered.

What Digital Realty vs Somers Could Mean for Whistleblowers

The case which leads to this Supreme Court ruling was that of Digital Realty Vs Somers; the case of a San Francisco executive claiming he was wrongfully terminated after reporting possible wrongdoing in an Asian branch office. The former vice president of a real estate investment trust had not complained to the Securities and Exchange Commission before his employment was terminated, but had instead gone to federal court following his firing. Citing the Dodd-Frank Act and the previous Sarbannes-Oxley legislation, the complainant’s case was deemed valid by a federal judge and the 9th Circuit Court.

However, this ruling from the Justices of the Supreme Court has reversed that decision. Through interpreting the law using “textualism”, or closely reading the word of the law, rather than considering Congress’ intentions when writing the law, the protection offered to corporate whistleblowers has been dealt a blow. For this reason, if you’re involved in a situation that you feel may escalate to wrongful termination due to whistleblowing, it’s strongly recommended that you liaise with a Riverside wrongful termination attorney before it gets to that point.

What Constitutes Wrongful Termination in Riverside

If you’re fired after reporting potential fraud to the Securities and Exchange Commission, you will still be entitled to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination. Whistleblowing is not the only form of dismissal which can qualify for a Riverside wrongful termination claim, however, as you may also be entitled to compensation if you’ve been fired on the grounds of:

  1. Being aged 40 or over
  2. Ancestry
  3. Religion, religious dress, or religious grooming practices
  4. Physical or mental disability
  5. Marital status
  6. Medical condition
  7. National origin, including any language use restrictions
  8. Race
  9. Sex, which also includes childbirth, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and related medical conditions
  10. Gender, gender identity, or gender expression
  11. Sexual orientation

Riverside wrongful termination attorneys may also be able to help in cases where you have been terminated:

  1. In an effort to avoid paying what is due to you
  2. Fraudulently or due to misrepresentation
  3. In violation of your employment contract
  4. As an act of retaliation

If you believe you have been a victim of wrongful dismissal, or that your current work situation is heading in that direction, you need the legal representation of an experienced Riverside wrongful termination attorney.

To schedule a free consultation, call us today on 818-610-8800.

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