The Integrity News
Vol. XI No. 34
December 16, 2002
December 16, 2002 (pgs. 106-110)
The Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform
law applies to public companies, but
not to private companies. Employees
of publicly traded companies are now
the most protected whistleblowers.
SOME OF THE PROVISIONS:
o It is unlawful to "discharge, demote,
suspend, threaten, harass, or in any
manner discriminate against" a
o Criminal penalties of up to 10 years
in jail are established for executives
who retaliate against whistleblowers.
o Board of Directors Audit Committees
must establish procedures for hearing
o The Secretary of Labor can order a
company to rehire a terminated
whistleblower with no court hearings
o A whistleblower has a right to a
jury trial, bypassing months or years
of cumbersome administrative hearings.
"Experts say anyone thinking about
tattling on their company should ask
themselves four important questions
before doing do."
o Is This The Only Way ?
"Do not blow the whistle unless you
have tried to correct the problem by
reporting up the normal chain of
command and gotten no results. Make
sure your allegations are not minor
o Do I Have The Goods ?
"Gather documentary evidence that
proves your case and keep it in a safe
place. Keep good notes, perhaps even
a daily diary. Make sure you are
seeing fraud, not merely incompetence
o Why Am I Doing This ?
"Examiner your motives. Do not act
out of frustration or because you feel
under-appreciated or mistreated. Do
not embellish your case and do not
violate any confidentiality agreements
you may have."
o Am I Ready ?
"Think through the impact on your
family. Be prepared for unemployment
and the possibility of being blacklisted
in your profession. Last but not least,
consult a lawyer."
Each HR professional should acquaint
themselves with the provisions of the
Sarbanes-Oxley law. This particular
Business Week article only focuses on
the provisions of the law that deal with
whistleblowers. The law has many
other provisions that effect HR. We
will be covering those in the future, but
you should acquaint yourself with them