Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowers in for Long Haul

Lora Bentley

One of the first people to seek protection under the whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is still awaiting resolution of his case.


According to a story, David Welch alleges that he lost his job as CFO of a financial institution in 2002 after questioning the company's internal controls and refusing to sign off on financial statements.


He took his case through the administrative process, which eventually landed him before a Department of Labor administrative law judge (ALJ), who issued a "recommended decision and order" of reinstatement. When the company refused to reinstate him, Welch sought enforcement from the U.S. district court in Roanoke, Va.


Just this month, the court decided that the ALJ's "recommended decision and order" was not a final, enforceable order and that it had no authority to enforce the order. Welch will now appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.


The kicker? The story says Welch hasn't held a permanent job since he was fired in 2002. Now, we don't know whether Welch will ultimately succeed, but it strikes us that if you're contemplating blowing the whistle, you should be prepared for a long haul, and know that things will probably get worse before they get better.

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