In 2010, Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), which was a sweeping piece of legislation that required the implementation of new rules and regulations throughout the financial industry. Interpretative ambiguity exists within the Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower program, which provides a definition of who qualifies as a whistleblower, and an anti-retaliation provision, which is intended to protect whistleblowers from retaliation. The ambiguity arises because a whistleblower is defined as an individual who makes a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). However, the anti-retaliation provision describes three categories of protected whistleblowing activities, one of which can be construed as an exception to the whistleblower definition since it does not require disclosure to the SEC. The SEC sought to clarify this ambiguity by issuing a rule (the “SEC’s Rule”) explaining that retaliation protection under the Dodd-Frank Act extends to an individual who only reports possible securities law violations through his employer’s internal whistleblowing procedures.
Kristin Goodchild, SECURITIES/ADMINISTRATIVE LAW—INTERNAL REPORTERS WHO BLOW THE WHISTLE: ARE THEY PROTECTED UNDER THE DODD-FRANK ACT’S ANTI-RETALIATION PROVISION?, 38 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 1 (2016), https://digitalcommons.law.wne.edu/lawreview/vol38/iss1/1