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HR Employees And Protected Conduct (Part 2)

April 29, 2013

One additional note from our earlier post today.

There is the question of whether the case law regarding HR employees and oppositional conduct applies to SOX claims. In Riddle v. First Tennessee Bank, No. 3:10–cv–0578, 2011 WL 4348298, at *8 (M.D. Tenn. Sept. 16, 2011), aff’d, NO. 11-6277, 2012 WL 3799231 (6th Cir. Aug. 31, 2012), the district court held that this line of authority did apply to a SOX claim, but did so without analysis or meaningful discussion. The Sixth Circuit affirmed on other grounds. In contrast, the Administrative Review Board takes the opposite view. See Robinson v. Morgan–Stanley, Case No. 07–070, 2010 WL 348303, at *8 (ARB Jan. 10, 2010) (“[Section 1514A] does not indicate that an employee’s report or complaint about a protected violation must involve actions outside the complainant’s assigned duties.”), and at least one federal district court has followed the ARB on this point. See Barker v. UBS AG, 888 F. Supp. 2d 291, 297 (D. Conn. 2012) (rejecting employer’s argument that the employee’s SOX claim had to be dismissed because she never stepped outside her role).

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