SOX Covers Employee Complaints of More Than Shareholder Fraud

An employee who complains of matters not specifically related to fraud against shareholders may still claim retaliation under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”). Lockheed Martin v. Department of Labor, No. 11-9524 (10th Cir. June 4, 2013), http://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/opinions/11/11-9524.pdf. In Lockheed Martin, the employee internally reported what she believed was mail or wire fraud. When later constructively discharged, she sued for retaliation under SOX. Despite finding the employee failed to prove a “loss of shareholder value” as a result of the alleged fraud, the Tenth Circuit allowed her to maintain her claim under SOX. The Court noted the anti-retaliation provision of SOX applies to any employee complaint regarding violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1343, 1344, or 1348, or any rule or regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission, regardless whether such violations relate to fraud against shareholders.