Whistleblower lawyer Dallas Hammer, Of Counsel at whistleblower law firm Zuckerman Law, was interviewed by Corporate Crime Reporter regarding the rise of cybersecurity whistleblowing and whistleblower protections under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”).
The whistleblower protection provisions of SOX prohibit a broad range of retaliatory employment actions, including discharging, demoting, suspending, threatening, harassing, or in any other manner discriminating against an employee who discloses potential violations of federal securities laws. A prevailing SOX whistleblower can recover lost wages and benefits, reinstatement, and special damages, which includes emotional distress, impairment of reputation, personal humiliation, and other non-economic harm resulting from retaliation.
Hammer explained that raising concerns about cybersecurity issues qualifies for protection under SOX: “One is a case in 2011 called Prioleau. That case is about an employee who raised cybersecurity concerns about two policies that contradicted each other. He raised those through his chain of command. He was ignored and experienced retaliation. The question was whether blowing the whistle on these cybersecurity issues qualified for protection under the Sarbanes Oxley Act, which was originally passed with more of a focus on corporate and audit fraud. The Administrative Review Board of the Department of Labor found that such a disclosure was in fact protected.”
Hammer discussed his experience representing whistleblowers that have disclosed cybersecurity vulnerabilities and weaknesses in information technology internal controls. He noted in the interview that whistleblowers he represented have disclosed important compliance issues in many industries: “What we have seen in other contexts — for example, fraud on the government in general — is that when people start to listen to whistleblowers, it does help fix the problem. It brings a new set of eyes — eyes that are in a position to know things that outside regulators do not know, that the public at large does not know. It helps fix the problem.”
If you have suffered retaliation for whistleblowing, contact Zuckerman Law at 202-262-8959.