In an opinion issued today, Judge Oetken ruled that the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act’s expansion of whistleblower protections to employees of subsidiaries of public companies (not just public companies themselves) was a mere “clarification” of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and thus could be applied retroactively to protect whistleblowers who were retaliated against prior to the passage of Dodd-Frank. In ruling on a “novel question,” Judge Oetken explained:
Prior to its amendment in 2010, Sarbanes-Oxley protected “employees of publicly traded companies” against retaliation for whistleblowing. 18 U.S.C. § 1514A(a). Dodd-Frank amended the statute to clarify that it protects employees of subsidiaries of public companies—not just those employed directly by public companies. Plaintiff’s claims in this case arose prior to the 2010 Dodd-Frank amendment, and the Court therefore must address whether that amendment should be applied retroactively. Because the amendment is a clarification of Congress’s intent with respect to the Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower provision, the Court concludes that it applies retroactively. Accordingly, the Court has subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s claims.