WASHINGTON, D.C.— Stephen Hall, Better Markets’ Legal Director and Securities Specialist, issued the following statement in connection with the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Murray v. UBS Securities LLC, which held that whistleblowers need not show retaliatory intent on the part of their employers to be protected against retaliation for their whistleblowing activity:
“The Supreme Court’s ruling today is a huge win for greater accountability on Wall Street and in corporate America, ensuring that those who come forward with evidence of fraud and illegal conduct have meaningful recourse if their employers punish them for standing up. It is also a refreshing example of this Supreme Court adhering to straightforward statutory interpretation focused on the language in the law and its underlying purpose.
“Whistleblowers play a vital role in exposing fraud and abuse, often involving complex financial crimes that are especially difficult to uncover and prove. But when whistleblowers come forward, they take huge professional, personal, and financial risks, often incurring the wrath of their employers. That’s why strong protections for whistleblowers, reaffirmed in today’s ruling, are so important.
“The Court squarely rejected the notion that to make a case for retaliation, whistleblowers must carry the difficult burden of showing that the employer harbored retaliatory intent against them. As the Court explained, the lower court’s decision conflicted with the plain language of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which expressly provides that one alleging retaliation need only show that her protected activity was a ‘contributing factor’ in an adverse employment action. As we urged in our amicus brief, the Court also correctly considered the clear intent of Congress in adopting these protections, which was to better protect whistleblowers from retaliation, not saddle them with evidentiary burdens that in effect immunize those who seek to suppress evidence of crime. Today’s decision will help ferret out misconduct at banks and all public companies, for the benefit of investors, markets, and the American public.”
Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies—including many in finance—to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.org.