At Siegel & Dolan, we primarily rely upon SOX in the context of retaliatory discharge cases. SOX provides protection for employees who report fraudulent activity to, amongst others, their supervisors. Under Section 1514A of the Act, an employer may not discriminate against any employee in the terms and conditions of employment because of any lawful act done by the employee
to provide information, cause information to be provided, or otherwise assist in an investigation regarding any conduct which the employee reasonably believes constitutes [fraudulent activity] . . . or any provision of Federal law relating to fraud against shareholders.
Employees will be protected if
the information or assistance is provided to or the investigation is conducted by . . . a person with supervisory authority over the employee (or such other person working for the employer who has the authority to investigate, discover, or terminate misconduct).
In addition, the employee will be protected if information is provided to a federal regulatory or law enforcement agency, or any member of congress or congressional committee.
The Northern District of Illinois has held that to succeed on a SOX claim under Section 1514A, the claimant must establish that
- he engaged in protected activity;
- the employer knew of the protected activity;
- he suffered an unfavorable personnel action; and
- circumstances exist to suggest that the protected activity was a contributing factor to the unfavorable action.
Bishop v. PCS Admin. (USA), Inc., No. 05-C-5683, 2006 WL 1460032 at *1 (N.D. Ill., May 23, 2006) (citations omitted).