Private Employers and Expanded SOX Whistleblower Reach: Mitigating Risks after New Supreme Court Ruling

Structuring and Implementing Robust Compliance Programs, Crafting Defense Theories to Dispute SOX Applicability

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Course Materials

This CLE course will provide employers' counsel with guidance on handling new Sarbanes-Oxley anti-retaliation risk exposure. The panel will review best practices for implementing new compliance programs and provide defense tactics to fight claims through the OSHA process or pursued in court.


Initially, the Sarbanes-Oxley anti-retaliation provisions applied primarily to publicly held companies. However, the Supreme Court's Lawson ruling made it clear that the employee retaliation protection now applies to a wide array of private employers. This ruling extended the law's reach to millions of private companies that are "contractors," "subcontractors" or "agents" of a publicly held company—who does and does not come under those definitions remains unclear.

Defending against a retaliation claim is a lengthy and complicated process due to the levels of administrative review available to complainants. Even meritless complaints are expensive and burdensome for companies—in time, expense and distraction. With OSHA's new online filing system launched Dec. 13, retaliation claims are rising this year.

Employment counsel now face tough questions from private employer clients and must prepare preventive measures and defense plans against claims. If the claimant prevails, the employer faces liability for back pay, compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees and reinstatement. As such, counsel to privately held businesses impacted by this ruling must take action now to implement and enforce compliance programs to minimize exposure.

Listen as our distinguished panel reviews SOX anti-retaliation requirements as they now apply to a great number of private companies. The panelists will review the Supreme Court case that has opened the door to this new exposure and recommend best practices for compliance and avoidance of retaliation claims. Finally, the panelists will provide defense techniques when a claim is filed in administrative tribunals and federal court.



  1. SOX applicability
    1. Discussion of Lawson
  2. SOX requirements
    1. Compliance
    2. Retaliation
  3. Best practices for developing compliance programs
  4. Dodd-Frank requirements
  5. Defense techniques


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • Under what circumstances are private companies now exposed to SOX anti-retaliation liability?
  • What are the SOX requirements and what processes must be implemented to comply and minimize risk of violations?
  • What are the defense theories to dispute the applicability of SOX protection to employees?


Judith (Jude) Biggs
Judith (Jude) Biggs

Holland & Hart

With more than 25 years of experience, Ms. Biggs focuses on advising national and global employers on...  |  Read More

Robert M. Goldich
Robert M. Goldich

Operating Shareholder
Greenberg Traurig

Mr. Goldich represents employers in all aspects of labor and employee relations, including general employment...  |  Read More

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