Image of OSHA Orders Bank to Reinstate Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower

OSHA Orders Bank to Reinstate Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower

JP Morgan Chase Whistleblower Prevails in CFPA Retaliation Claim at OSHA

OSHA has ordered JP Morgan Chase to reinstate a former operations manager whose employment was terminated because he raised concerns about failures to properly record loans, both internally and to government regulators, and for refusing to override a failed compliance test and falsely report it as having passed.  OSHA also ordered JPMC to pay more than $200,000 in damages.

In a press release, Robert Kulick, OSHA regional administrator in New York, noted that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Consumer Financial Protection Act “expressly protect employees’ rights to raise reasonable concerns about what they believe to be potential violations without fear of retaliation by their employers. If employees are afraid to come forward for fear of punishment, financial wrongdoing could be masked, with consequences for employees, the employers and consumers.”

A prevailing SOX whistleblower is entitled to “all relief necessary to make the employee whole,” including reinstatement, back pay, attorney’s fees, and costs. 18 U.S.C. § 1514A(c).   SOX also authorizes the award of “special damages,” which includes damages for impairment of reputation, personal humiliation, mental anguish and suffering, and other non-economic harm resulting from retaliation.

Whistleblower Protection for Financial Services Industry Employees

The whistleblower protection provision of the Consumer Financial Protection Act provides a cause of action for corporate whistleblowers who suffer retaliation for raising concerns about potential violations of rules or regulations of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

OSHA has issued final rules implementing the whistleblower protection provision of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA).   Enacted as Section 1057 of the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPA’s whistleblower protection provision provides robust protection to employees who disclose fraud related to consumer financial protection services.

The CFPA protects disclosures made to an employer, to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or any State, local, or Federal, government authority or law enforcement agency concerning any act or omission that the employee reasonably believes to be a violation of any CFPB regulation or any other consumer financial protection law that the Bureau enforces. This includes several federal laws regulating “unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices . . . related to the provision of consumer financial products or services.”

Guide to SOX Whistleblower Law

The whistleblower protection provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act provides robust protection to corporate whistleblowers, and indeed some SOX whistleblowers have achieved substantial recoveries.  Earlier this year, a former in-house counsel at a biotechnology company recovered $11 million in a SOX whistleblower retaliation case alleging that the company fired him for disclosing violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

On the fifteenth anniversary of SOX, leading whistleblower law firm Zuckerman Law released a free guide to the SOX whistleblower protection law: “Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection: Robust Protection for Corporate Whistleblowers.”  The guide summarizes SOX whistleblower protections and offers concrete tips for corporate whistleblowers based on lessons learned during years of litigating SOX whistleblower cases.

The goal of the guide is to arm corporate whistleblowers with the knowledge to effectively combat whistleblower retaliation, avoid the pitfalls that can weaken a SOX whistleblower case, and formulate an effective strategy to obtain the maximum recovery.

Sarbanes-Oxley-Whistleblower-Protection-Robust-Protection-for-Corporate-Whistleblowers

Whistleblower Incentives for Financial Services Employees

Whistleblowers in the banking industry are protected against retaliation and are also eligible to recover a award or bounty for providing original information that leads to successful SEC enforcement actions with total civil penalties exceeding $1 million. A whistleblower may receive an award of between 10% and 30% of the monetary sanctions collected in actions brought by the SEC and in related actions brought by other regulatory or law-enforcement authorities.  Many of the largest SEC whistleblower awards were provided to whistleblowers who disclosed fraud at banks or other financial services institutions.

See our column in Forbes: One Billion Reasons Why The SEC Whistleblower-Reward Program Is Effective.

The whistleblower lawyers at leading whistleblower law firm Zuckerman Law represent whistleblowers nationwide in the financial services industry in whistleblower rewards and whistleblower retaliation matters.  Our attorneys have represented whistleblowers at JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Riggs Bank, and other financial institutions. Click here to read client reviews.

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Jason Zuckerman, Principal of Zuckerman Law, litigates whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, wrongful discharge, and other employment-related claims. He is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” in 2015 and selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® and in SuperLawyers.