The Ninth Circuit Allows Corporate Counsel to Bring SOX Whistleblower Claims; Belief that Investigation Required Satisfies the Statute


In its first decision interpreting the whistleblower provisions of SOX, the Ninth Circuit broadened the scope of protected conduct. Although other circuits have required a would-be whistleblower to prove she had a reasonable belief that the law had been violated, the Ninth Circuit held that the whistleblower need only believe an investigation is required. Moreover, the Ninth Circuit held that the fact that the whistleblower was an in-house attorney—who may need to disclose privileged communications to make her case—did not preclude such claims.

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