A Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower is someone who reports a violation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Anyone who has original information about a possible violation of Sarbanes-Oxley may be a SOX whistleblower.
For more information about the requirement for reporting violations to the SEC and whistleblower rewards, see our SEC whistleblower page.
Common SOX Violations
Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002 to protect shareholders from accounting fraud. SOX includes reforms to improve financial disclosures that corporations are required to make and ensure controls are in place to prevent accounting irregularities.
The sections of Sarbanes-Oxley that corporations most commonly violate include:
Prohibits material misstatements, untrue statements, or omissions on period financial reports, such as the company’s 10-K
Requires companies to publish information in their financial reports on the scope, adequacy, and effectiveness of their internal controls over financial reporting. Companies must have an external accounting firm assess and report on the accuracy of the company’s assessment of its financial controls. An example of a financial control is restricting access to financially significant computer systems to only authorized personnel.
Requires companies to immediately report to the public any material changes to their financial conditions or operations.
Prohibits altering, destroying, concealing, or falsifying financial records.
Sarbanes Oxley Whistleblower Awards
Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblowers are entitled to between 10 and 30 percent of any funds the SEC recovers as a result of their information.
The SEC has awarded over $111 million to whistleblowers in total since the inception of the whistleblower program, with an average whistleblower award of $3.3 million.
SOX Whistleblower Protection
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act protects employees of publicly traded companies who report securities violations to a federal agency, to law enforcement, to Congress, or internally, such as to a supervisor, to an internal hotline, or as part of an internal investigation.
SOX prohibits an employer from taking adverse action against an employee for whistleblowing, which includes a prohibition on firing, blacklisting, or reprimanding the employee.
An employee who is terminated for whistleblowing is entitled to reinstatement and back pay, which includes all the income they would have earned during the period where they were laid off. Whistleblowers who are retaliated against are also entitled to special damages, such as for emotional distress and loss of professional reputation, and attorney’s fees.
Our SOX Whistleblower Lawyers
Girard Gibbs’ whistleblower lawyers have more than two decades of experience prosecuting fraud.
We have successfully challenged violations of federal securities law and breaches of fiduciary duty by some of the world’s largest corporations and publicly traded companies, including Lehman Brothers, Sallie Mae, American Express, and others. In addition to our track record of success in securities fraud cases, our firm also provides consulting and strategic counseling services to institutional clients and professionals in securities litigation, corporate governance, and international business matters.
Our attorneys have been nationally recognized for our advocacy with numerous awards and honors, including Top 100 Super Lawyers in Northern California and The Best Lawyers in America, and rated AV Preeminent (among the highest class of attorneys for professional ethics and legal skills).
We proudly hold memberships in Taxpayers Against Fraud, a public interest organization dedicated to combating fraud against the government and protecting public resources. Our firm supports the nonprofit’s educational initiatives and efforts to advance public and government support for qui tam whistleblower cases.