Practical Answers to Employment Law Issues
February 26, 2024 - Discrimination, Legislation

Supreme Court Reverses Second Circuit in Favor of Whistleblower Plaintiff, Holding That SOX Plaintiffs Need Not Prove Retaliatory Intent

New Guidance on COVID-19 Protocols for Contractor Employees at Federal Facilities

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Second Circuit’s decision in Murray v. UBS and resolved a circuit split in favor of employees, holding that although intent is an element of a Sarbanes-Oxley (“SOX”) whistleblower case, a SOX plaintiff does not have to prove retaliatory intent or animus to prevail. The decision, which addressed the meaning of the contributing-factor standard, leaves SOX as one of the, if not the, most protective whistleblower statutes in the country and may extend well beyond the statute itself. As we have discussed previously, the same standard is used for not only a dozen or so other federal whistleblower statutes, but also California’s general whistleblower law, California Labor Code Sec. 1102.5. The article below provides a brief background on SOX’s contributing-factor standard, the facts of the case, an overview of the decision, and some practical takeaways.

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