Sarbanes Oxley Whistleblower Goes Internationale, Merci Beaucoup
Looks like someone may have to finally answer for a SOx whistleblower complaint coming from outside the US. And it comes from a most unlikely US listed company, Accenture. With all the accountants leftover from Arthur Andersen over there, they should know better!
Now if only one of the complainants can get it through the long, tedious administrative process at OSHA.
Court extends Sarbox protection to whistleblowers outside US
Employees of US-listed companies who blow the whistle on fraud that took place in the US can be protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley law even if they are based beyond US shores, according to a landmark court ruling.
The decision, involving Accenture, the consultancy, overturns years of refusal by US courts to allow the extra-territorial application of Sarbox’s whistleblower protection laws.
Sarbox contained new pro-whistleblower provisions when it was passed in 2002 in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals. They were intended to strengthen the protections available to employees who bring to light cases of fraud.
Until now, US federal courts addressing cases involving whistleblowing employees outside the US have decided there should be no protection for them because this would represent application of US law abroad in a way that the US Congress did not intend.
But in the latest case, a judge in New York this week found that Rosemary O’Mahoney, a Paris-based Accenture employee who claimed that Accenture had carried out tax fraud, could be protected because measures allegedly taken against her by the company were orchestrated in the US…
This will lead to unintentional comedy.
“Gee, did the embezzling in Moscow get organizational support in New York? Well, they did go to Manhattan to get the false papers, and the VP involved is from Long Island. Sweet, I can safely report it!”
Of course, then you just have to look out for Russian hit squads, but SOX wasn’t designed to help you with those.
Although as neat as it would be to get your own bodyguard detail, I think I’ll just continue to avoid Russia for now. :p