Image of What is the statute of limitations for a SOX whistleblower retaliation case?

What is the statute of limitations for a SOX whistleblower retaliation case?

180-Day Sarbanes-Oxley Statute of Limitations

The deadline for a SOX whistleblower to file a complaint is 180 days after the whistleblower first experiences or becomes aware of the unlawful retaliation.[i] The clock starts ticking once “the discriminatory decision has been both made and communicated to the complainant.”[ii]

The 180-day clock starts to run on the date of each discrete retaliatory act, e.g., the date on which the whistleblower is informed of a demotion, suspension, termination, change in job duties, etc.  However, in an action alleging a hostile work environment, retaliatory acts outside the statute of limitations period are actionable where there is an ongoing hostile work environment and at least one of the acts occurred within the 180-day statute of limitations.

A SOX retaliation complaint is considered filed once the Department of Labor receives it. A complaint sent by mail, however, is considered filed on the date of its postmark.

The 180-day period is not jurisdictional and may be equitably tolled when (1) the respondent actively misled the complainant respecting the cause of action, (2) extraordinary circumstances prevented the complainant from asserting his rights, (3) complainant raised the precise statutory claim in issue but mistakenly did so in the wrong forum, or (4) the respondent did not actively mislead the complainant, but instead through its acts or omissions lulled the complainant into foregoing prompt action to vindicate his rights.

“[A]lthough recovery for any action outside the 180-day period is barred, an employee may still use ‘the prior acts as background evidence in support of a timely claim.’” Roop v. Kan. City S. Ry., No. CIV-16-413-SPS, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177646 (E.D. Okla. Oct. 26, 2017) citing Dunn v. BNSF Ry. Co., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137109, 2017 WL 3670559, at *8 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 25, 2017), quoting Nat’l R.R. Passenger Corp. v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101, 105, 110, 113 (2002).

If your SOX claim is no longer timely, you may have a claim under other federal or state whistleblower protection laws or a potential common law claim of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy.

Contact us today to find out if you have a SOX retaliation claim. And see our tips to get the maximum recovery in your whistleblower retaliation case.

[i] 18 U.S.C. §1514A(b)(2)(D).

[ii] 29 CFR § 1980.103(d).

SOX Whistleblower Lawyer’s Guide to SOX Whistleblower Protection Law

Download our guide to SOX whistleblower protection:SOX whistleblower protection

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Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Whistleblower Retaliation Lawyers

The SOX whistleblower retaliation 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.

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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.