By: Allen B. Roberts, Stuart M. Gerson and Daniel J. Schuch

In a case packed with allegations of the kind rarely found beyond the script of a soap opera, the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") Administrative Review Board ("ARB") determined that protected activity under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 ("SOX") does not require a showing of fraud against shareholders. Rather, per the ARB, it is sufficient that an employee reasonably believes conventional mail or wire fraud has occurred. The holding in Brown v. Lockheed Martin Corp. (pdf) evidences the ARB’s adherence to a literal, and clinical, construction of SOX – and serves as a clear indication of the ARB’s willingness to reach beyond the underlying objectives envisioned by Congress in the wake of the infamous collapse of Enron and WorldCom. If upheld and followed, Brown effectively expands SOX whistleblower protections well beyond the intended beneficiary of the law – the "innocent investor."


Continue Reading Sarbanes-Oxley “Protected Activity” Wins a Broad Interpretation – But Is the Decision Faithful to Congressional Intent?