Reading the headline, I’m sure a few of you rolled your eyes. Dodd-Frank? Sarbanes-Oxley? Those statutes are seen as dull and tedious. But a new federal court decision in Connecticut should start to change that, and it has implications for employers nationwide.
The case is Kramer v. Trans-Lux, which you can download here. It addressed an employer’s motion to dismiss a claim of whistleblower retaliation under the Dodd-Frank Act. Ultimately, the court allowed the employee’s claim to proceed, noting that under the facts alleged, the employee has a viable claim.
What was the case about? According to the applicable complaint (which the court assumed as true for purposes of deciding the motion), the plaintiff was a Vice-President of Human Resources with responsibility for ensuring that the company’s benefit plans were in compliance with applicable law. He claimed that he expressed concern about the makeup and number of people on the pension plan committee and that he did not believe the company was adhering to its pension plan.
He claimed that he contacted the audit committee and, importantly, claimed that he sent a letter to the SEC regarding the company’s failure to submit a 2009 amendment to the board of directors. He then claimed that he was reprimanded and the subject of an investigation. Shortly thereafter, he was stripped of his responsibilities and later terminated.
Continue Reading A New Whistleblower Retaliation Statute Grows Up: Dodd-Frank is the new Sarbanes-Oxley.