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Law Offices of Elizabeth “Booka” Smith, LLC Blog

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July 2015: Security Exchange Commission Clarifies Scope of Employee Job Protection under the Dodd-Frank Act

In Section 922 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, Congress amended the Securities Exchange Act to add Section 21F, entitled “Securities Whistleblower Incentives and Protection.” Section 21F established a series of new incentives and protections for individuals to report violations of federal securities laws. The incentives and protections take essentially three forms: (1) monetary awards for providing information; (2) heightened confidentiality assurances; and (3) enhanced employment retaliation protections. In the wake of the addition of Section 21F there was debate about whether an employee had to externally report an alleged securities law infraction to the SEC in order to receive enhanced retaliation protections under Dodd-Frank. In July, 2015, the SEC published a formal interpretation of Section 21F which makes clear that an employee who reports internally to their employer (e.g., to a supervisor, compliance official, or other person working for the company that has authority to investigate, discover, or terminate misconduct) an alleged infraction of securities laws is entitled to retaliation protection under Dodd-Frank. See 17 C.F.R. Part 241 (“Under our interpretation, an individual who reports internally and suffers employment retaliation will be no less protected than an individual who comes immediately to the Commission.”). The SEC reasoned that providing equivalent retaliation protection to internal and external reporters removes a potentially serious disincentive for employees to first alert the company to the alleged securities law infraction before going to the SEC. The Law Offices of Elizabeth “Booka” Smith, LLC routinely represents executives in the financial sector who harbor concerns that their company may be playing “fast-and-loose” with SEC rules and regulations. If you harbor such concerns and are debating whether and how to report your concerns, or, if you previously reported your concerns and as a result experienced retaliation in the workplace, CONTACT US to schedule an initial consultation to evaluate potential representation.

September 10, 2015: Second Circuit Agrees with the...

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