How can a SOX whistleblower appeal an ALJ’s decision?
A SOX whistleblower can file a petition for review with the ARB within 10 days after the ALJ renders a decision. The petition must identify every part of the ALJ’s decision that the whistleblower seeks to challenge.[i] The ARB will then decide whether to review the case. An ALJ’s decision becomes final after 10 days if no petition for review has been filed, or after 30 business days if the ARB has not issued an order accepting a timely filed petition for review.[ii] If the ARB accepts the case for review, the ALJ’s decision is inoperative, but a reinstatement order becomes effective while the appeal is pending.[iii]
The ARB reviews conclusions of law de novo and reviews the ALJ’s findings of facts under a substantial evidence standard.[iv] A finding is supported by “substantial evidence” if evidence in the record logically supports the finding, and the record as a whole does not countervail that evidence.[v]
Note that the failure to appeal an ALJ decision can have a preclusive effect on other claims. For example, in Tice v. Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Third Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the employer, holding that a DOL ALJ’s determination that the employer had a legitimate reason for terminating SOX plaintiff Carol Tice’s employment should be accorded preclusive effect in related employment actions.[vi] Ms. Tice had initially filed a SOX retaliation claim with OSHA, alleging that her employment was terminated in violation of SOX because she opposed management’s direction to employees to falsify sales call reports. A SOX ALJ dismissed Ms. Tice’s claim, concluding that the employer demonstrated that it would have terminated Ms. Tice absent her disclosure because Ms. Tice herself falsified sales call reports. Ms. Tice did not appeal the ALJ’s order and subsequently brought a separate action against her former employer in federal court alleging age discrimination and gender discrimination. The summary judgment dismissal of Ms. Tice’s discrimination claims likely could have been avoided if Ms. Tice had appealed the DOL ALJ’s order.
[i] 29 C.F.R. § 1980.110(a).
[ii] 29 CFR § 1980.110(b).
[iii] 29 CFR § 1980.110(b).
[iv] Clark v. Hamilton Hauling, LLC, ARB No. 13-023, ALJ No. 2011-STA-7, at 4-5 (ARB May 29, 2014).
[v] Bobreski v. J. Givoo Consultants, Inc., ARB No. 13-001, ALJ No. 2008-ERA-3, at 13-14 (ARB Aug. 29, 2014).
[vi] Tice, 325 F. App’x 114 (3d Cir. 2009).
SOX Whistleblower Protection Law
We represent corporate whistleblowers nationwide in high-stakes whistleblower retaliation cases and have obtained substantial recoveries for CEOs, CFOs, auditors, accountants, risk managers, CISOs, and other executives and senior professionals. We have recovered more than $15 million for corporate whistleblowers and have obtained settlements in excess of one million dollars in at least five SOX matters. Click here to read reviews from senior executives and professionals that we represented in whistleblower retaliation matters.
To learn more about the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate whistleblower protection law, download our free guide Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection: Robust Protection for Corporate Whistleblowers.
SEC Whistleblower Rewards
We are also one of the leading law firms representing whistleblowers worldwide before the SEC, and indeed our attorneys represented whistleblowers at the SEC before the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act. We helped shape the SEC rules implementing the SEC Whistleblower Program, and have represented whistleblowers in disclosing a wide range of violations of federal securities laws, including:
- Accounting fraud;
- Investment and securities fraud;
- Foreign bribery and other FCPA violations;
- EB-5 investment fraud;
- Manipulation of a security’s price or volume;
- Fraudulent securities offerings and Ponzi schemes;
- Hedge fund fraud;
- Unregistered securities offerings;
- Investment adviser fraud;
- Anti-money laundering program violations;
- False or misleading statements about a company or investment;
- Inadequate internal controls;
- Deceptive non-GAAP financial measures; and
- Violations of auditor independence rules.
See our recent article in Forbes: One Billion Reasons Why The SEC Whistleblower-Reward Program Is Effective. If you have information you would like to report to the SEC, contact an experienced SEC whistleblower attorney at Zuckerman Law for a free, confidential consultation by calling 202-262-8959.
To learn more about the SEC Whistleblower Program, download our free guide SEC Whistleblower Program: Tips from SEC Whistleblower Attorneys to Maximize an SEC Whistleblower Award.
Qualifying for an SEC Whistleblower Award: Tips for SEC Whistleblowers
SEC Whistleblower Program and SEC Whistleblower Awards
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Client Reviews from Executives and Senior Professionals in SOX Whistleblower Retaliation Matters
- “Jason is the consummate professional when it comes to SOX retaliation claims. He is, without question, one of the most deeply knowledgeable, technical, and astute attorneys in this very specialized body of law. During one of the most difficult times in my professional career, Jason not only provided exceptional legal guidance, but equally as important, he provided emotional support that was vital to my family and me. Jason ran circles around the “major national law firm” team that was assigned to defend my employer. In fact, Jason made them look silly at times. Jason always advocated my best interests, not his own. Jason is not only an exceptional attorney who helped my family to achieve a favorable outcome, but he is a friend. I’ve worked with major law firms throughout my career and when it comes to SOX and employment law matters, there is not a finer, more talented attorney than Jason Zuckerman.”
- “Jason is everything you could possibly ask for an an attorney: highly intelligent, thoughtful, and extraordinarily knowledgeable in his specialty of the law. In a very short period of time Jason was able to assimilate a laundry list of details and offer a compelling strategy on how to effectively proceed. Moreover, he is extremely responsive.”
- “Jason did an exceptional job in quickly understanding the intricacies of my case, grasping not only his field of expertise of employment law, but also the violations of law and SEC Regulations that were central to my dispute. The overall strategy he utilized insured that opposing counsel was challenged and made clear that this case would simply not proceed based on a timetable convenient to them. Jason is thorough, accurate and seemingly working at all hours based on phone calls and correspondence. Fortunately Jason has a very down to earth personality, understands issues readily and can convey in understandable language current “legal” circumstances and probable outcomes. I would easily and thoroughly recommend Jason for issues related to a Sarbanes-Oxley or employment related dispute.”
- “I selected Jason to handle my case after consulting with three other lawyers because of his extensive SOX experience and negotiation skills. My decision paid off as he easily surpassed all of my expectations. He quickly analyzed the merits of my case and aggressively engaged my former employer to reach a favorable settlement, avoiding years of potential litigation. He was responsive, professional, ethical and a great advocate on my behalf. I truly believe that I could not have found a better lawyer to represent my interests. He would be the first person I would recommend if a colleague or friend were to ever need similar services. Put simply, Jason is a top notch lawyer who works tirelessly to achieve a positive outcome for his clients. It’s easy to see why he is regarded as an expert in the field.”
- “Jason Zuckerman is the most focused, thoughtful and aggressive attorneys I have ever known, let alone had the pleasure to have on my side in a highly complex legal case. He brought well-honed legal insights and a rapid pace to our legal preparations. He forcefully brought those preparations to the opposing side, which gave them little choice but to engage with us until a positive settlement was reached. In addition, we found Jason to be extremely responsive at every step, even if it required working past midnight. His character is beyond reproach and his dedication through the entire process was unwavering. If I ever need someone in my legal court again, I won’t hesitate for even a second, before I seek Jason’s support.”