Whistleblower Protection Extended to Post-Employment Activity

The U.S. District Court for New Jersey extended whistle-blower anti-retaliation protections to a brokerage firm employee who reported alleged misconduct internally but did not report it to federal regulators until after his dismissal, according to Bloomberg Law.

The employee sued his former employer, TD Ameritrade, claiming that the company “violated the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act by wrongfully terminating him for complaining to management about alleged securities law violations,” said the article. The employee, who was an investment oversight officer, reported to a supervisor that one of Ameritrade’s offerings was not in compliance with securities regulations. The supervisor told the employee not to make corrective changes and later fired him after he pressed the issue further. The employee only contacted the SEC to expose the situation after Ameritrade fired him.

The defendants moved to dismiss the case, saying that the was not a whistle-blower because he did not blow the whistle until after he was fired. The Court disagreed, holding that “internal reporting of potential violations is sufficient to qualify as a whistle-blower under the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation provision.”

Whistleblower protection is afforded under various federal and state laws. If your employer is engaging in conduct which you believe may be unlawful, unethical, or against public policy, contact an employment lawyer to discuss how to best handle the situation.