Recent whistleblower developments have practitioners asking some interesting questions. Are whistleblowers protected even if they don’t work at public companies? Should companies be worried about their employees’ babysitters? What about their overseas employees? And just how does George Clooney figure into all of this anyway?
Some of these questions spring from the recent Supreme Court decision in Lawson v. FMR LLC, 134 S.Ct. 1158 (2014), which examined whether Sarbanes- Oxley’s whistleblower protections extend to employees of private contractors working with public companies and, if so, how far. While this decision has attracted much of the public attention, the issue of protection for overseas whistleblowers, which has the potential for significantly greater impact, and a less definitive resolution, than that decided in Lawson, has quietly been making its way through the lower courts.