M.D. Florida: Employee Must Report To SEC To Be A Protected Dodd-Frank Whistleblower

Two weeks ago, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida dismissed with prejudice a former employee’s Dodd-Frank whistleblower claim on the ground that the employee was not a “whistleblower” within the meaning of the Dodd-Frank Reform Act because she did not provide information relating to a violation of the securities law to the SEC. Englehart v. Career Educ. Corp., No. 8:14-cv-444-T-33EAJ, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64994 (M.D. Fla. May 12, 2014).

The Court aligned itself with the Fifth Circuit, which held that the Dodd-Frank Reform Act whistleblower-protection provision “creates a private cause of action only for individuals who provide information relating to a violation of the securities laws to the SEC.” Recognizing that a number of District Courts reached a conclusion contrary to the Fifth Circuit’s holding, the Middle District concluded that the Dodd-Frank Reform Act provides unambiguous statutory language as to the definition of a “whistleblower,” and it is not the role of the Court “to expand explicit definitions within a statute to reach a desired result.”

While the contours of the Dodd-Frank law are still being defined by courts, the Middle District’s rejection of the expansive definition of a “whistleblower” will be further legal authority that an internal complaint (without a report to the SEC) does not implicate the provisions of Dodd-Frank.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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