Tina Syring, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, wrote about the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 for Inside Counsel. More than a decade has passed since the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) whereby employees are protected against retaliation after blowing the proverbial whistle for questionable and/or illegal corporate practices. While initially thought to extend only to those employed by publicly traded companies, the March 2014 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawson v. FMR, LLC demonstrates otherwise. In Lawson, the Supreme Court held that employees of privately held contractors or subcontractors who perform work for public companies also may receive the whistleblower protections under SOX for reporting fraud or other delineated wrongdoing by the publicly traded company. As a result of the Lawson decision, now all individuals and businesses — whether public or private — who are contractors for a publicly traded company are subject to SOX whistleblower protections for retaliation against an employee for reporting various types of fraud involving the public company.
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