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U.S. Senate Introduces Bill to Extend Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Protections

On September 25, 2019, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced the Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act (the “Act”), which would extend anti-retaliation protections under the Dodd-Frank Act to internal complaints.  The Act mirrors a bill introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers, 138 S. Ct. 767 (2018), in which the Court unanimously held that Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation provision only applied to individuals who provide information regarding a violation of securities law to the SEC (we reported on the House bill here).

The SEC reported that in 2018, the vast majority of employees or former employees who received awards pursuant to whistleblower protections initially raised their concerns internally with their employer.  Under the Supreme Court’s current definition of a whistleblower, employees are not protected from retaliation under Dodd-Frank unless they provide information to the SEC.  The Act would expand the anti-retaliation protections to include employees who report concerns about violations of securities laws internally to their employers before or instead of reporting to the SEC.  The Act also aims to improve how quickly successful whistleblowers could receive a monetary award.  If passed, the Act would require the SEC to decide within one year whether the whistleblower will receive a monetary award.

© 2020 Proskauer Rose LLP.

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About this Author

Harris M Mufson, Class/Collective Action Attorney, Proskauer
Senior Counsel

Harris Mufson is a senior associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration and Whistleblowing & Retaliation Groups.

Adept at counseling clients at every turn of the litigation process, Harris represents employers in a variety of industries, including financial services, health care, entertainment, sports and legal, with respect to a wide range of labor and employment law matters. These include compensation disputes, employment discrimination and retaliation, whistleblowing,...

212-969-3794
Pinny Goldberg Labor and Employment Lawyer Proskauer Rose Law Firm
Associate

Pinny Goldberg is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department. Pinny represents employers in a broad array of matters before federal and state courts, FINRA and other arbitration panels, and administrative agencies, including the EEOC and its state equivalents, and in pre-litigation negotiations. Matters he works on include discrimination and harassment, wage and hour, wrongful discharge, whistleblowing and retaliation, covenants not to compete, breaches of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, and tort and contract claims. 

In addition to handling litigation and dispute resolution, Pinny regularly advises clients on a wide variety of employment issues, including drafting, reviewing and revising handbooks and workplace policies. He also addresses questions and concerns related to hiring, wage and hour issues, employee leave, performance problems, terminations of employment, and separation agreements and releases.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Pinny was a Labor and Employment associate at Seyfarth Shaw LLP. While in law school, he served as an editor for the Cardozo Law Review.

212.969.3074
Tony S. Martinez Labor & Employment Attorney Proskauer Rose Law Firm
Associate

Tony Seda Martinez is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department and assists clients in a wide range of labor and employment law matters.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Tony attended Rutgers School of Law. While in law school, he interned for the United States Attorney’s Office, the Honorable Judge Esther Salas of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the Honorable Chief Justice Stuart Rabner of the Supreme Court of New Jersey. In addition, Tony served as a senior notes and comments editor of the Rutgers Law Review...

212.969.3014