Court Says Sarbox Whistleblower Protection Can Extend Past U.S. Border

Lora Bentley

If you'll remember, we spent significant time last year discussing Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblowers, their plights and the limits of the protection. For a long time, whistleblower protection stopped at U.S. borders, according to FT.com. That is, employees of U.S.-listed companies that are based overseas could not avail themselves of Sarbanes-Oxley protection if they chose to blow the whistle on illegal activities.

 

Until now. FT.com reports:

U.S. federal courts addressing cases involving whistleblowing employees outside the U.S. have decided there should be no protection for them, because this would represent application of U.S. law abroad in a way that the U.S. Congress did not intend.
But in the latest case, a judge in New York this week found that Rosemary O'Mahoney, a Paris-based Accenture employee who claimed that Accenture had carried out tax fraud, could be protected because measures allegedly taken against her by the company were orchestrated in the U.S.

O'Mahoney alleged that the consultant firm demoted her and reduced her pay after she revealed the company had followed a California-based tax partner's advice to avoid making French social security contributions on behalf of its employees.

 

O'Mahoney's attorney says the decision will send "an important ripple." As expected Accenture representatives deny O'Mahoney's claims.



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