OSHA Orders Bank to Reinstate Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower

OSHA has ordered JP Morgan Chase to reinstate a former operations manager whose employment was terminated because he raised concerns about failures to properly record loans, both internally and to government regulators, and for refusing to override a failed compliance test and falsely report it as having passed. OSHA also ordered JPMC to pay more than $200,000 in damages.

In a press release, Robert Kulick, OSHA regional administrator in New York, noted that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Consumer Financial Protection Act “expressly protect employees’ rights to raise reasonable concerns about what they believe to be potential violations without fear of retaliation by their employers. If employees are afraid to come forward for fear of punishment, financial wrongdoing could be masked, with consequences for employees, the employers and consumers.”

A prevailing SOX whistleblower is entitled to “all relief necessary to make the employee whole,” including reinstatement, back pay, attorney’s fees, and costs. 18 U.S.C. § 1514A(c). SOX also authorizes the award of “special damages,” which includes damages for impairment of reputation, personal humiliation, mental anguish and suffering, and other non-economic harm resulting from retaliation.