The U.S. Chamber filed an amicus brief urging the Eleventh Circuit to hold that an individual who does not meet the definition of “whistleblower” in the Dodd-Frank Act may not bring a cause of action under the Act’s anti-retaliation provisions.
The language of Dodd-Frank is clear that a “whistleblower”—defined in the statute as an individual who provides information “to the Commission”—is protected by the anti-retaliation provisions of the Act. The district court properly dismissed the Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claim in this case, because at the time plaintiff’s employment was terminated he had not made a complaint to the SEC and therefore was not a “whistleblower” within the meaning of the Act.
The Chamber’s amicus brief address the proper interpretation of the relevant statutory provisions, and the legal error and adverse practical consequences of the plaintiff’s and the SEC’s interpretation. Their proposed interpretation is inconsistent with the primary purpose of the Dodd-Frank whistleblower provisions—to alert the SEC about potential securities law violations—and accepting it would undercut the anti-retaliation provisions and procedures of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. It would also deepen a circuit split with the Fifth Circuit and would impose unwarranted costs on employers.
Eugene Scalia and Christopher J. Baum of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP served as counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center.