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What level of detail is required in a Sarbanes-Oxley complaint?


Unlike filing a complaint federal court, when you file a complaint under the anti-retaliation provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act at OSHA, it need not be very detailed.  In particular, it need not meet the Iqbal/Twombly plausibility pleading standard.  A SOX whistleblower complaint is sufficient so long as the whistleblower gives an opposing party fair notice of the charges against it.

The DOL Administrative Review Board has held that “fair notice” requires only that the complaint provide (1) some facts about the protected activity, showing some relatedness to the laws and regulations of one of the statutes in our jurisdiction, (2) some facts about the adverse action, (3) a general assertion of causation and (4) a description of the relief that is sought.  Evans v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2012 WL 3164358 (DOL Adm.Rev.Bd., July 31, 2012).

In drafting a SOX whistleblower complaint, focus on the following:

  • plead protected conduct;
  • plead knowledge of protected conduct;
  • plead all adverse actions; and
  • name individuals responsible for taking the retaliatory adverse actions.

Experienced Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Attorneys

The whistleblower lawyers at Zuckerman Law have substantial experience litigating Sarbanes Oxley whistleblower retaliation claims and have achieved substantial recoveries for officers, executives, accountants, auditors, and other senior professionals.  To learn more about corporate whistleblower protections, see our Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection FAQ.  Click here to read client testimonials about the firm’s work in SOX whistleblower matters and other employment-related litigation.

To schedule a free preliminary consultation, click here or call us at 202-262-8959.

Leading whistleblower law firm Zuckerman Law has written extensively about whistleblower protections and is quoted frequently in the media on this topic. A sample of those blog posts and articles appears below:

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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.