Supreme Court to Clarify Definition of “Whistleblower” Under The Dodd-Frank Act

June 27, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday granted certiorari in Somers v. Digital Realty Trust Inc., a case the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided this past March. This is significant because the Supreme Court may clarify how broad the term “whistleblower” is defined under the Dodd-Frank Act.

The issue in Somers was whether Digital Realty’s former vice president could invoke the anti-retaliation protections of the Dodd-Frank Act when he alleged that he was fired after making several internal reports to senior management regarding possible securities law violations at the company, although he had never reported directly to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Ninth Circuit held that he could because Dodd-Frank’s definition of whistleblower includes not only those who disclose information to the SEC, but also employees who report alleged unlawful activity internally within their companies. In deciding Somers, the Ninth Circuit agreed with the Second Circuit’s broader definition of whistleblower, splitting with the Fifth Circuit’s narrower interpretation that requires the whistleblower to have reported to the SEC.

Read the full article here.