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More than a decade has passed since the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) whereby employees are protected against retaliation after blowing the proverbial whistle for questionable and/or illegal corporate practices. While initially thought to extend only to those employed by publicly-traded companies, the March 2014 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawson v. FMR, LLC demonstrates otherwise. In Lawson, the Supreme Court held that employees of privately-held contractors or subcontractors who perform work for public companies also may receive the whistleblower protections under SOX for reporting fraud or other delineated wrongdoing by the publicly-traded company. As a result of the Lawson decision, now all individuals and businesses — whether public or private — who are contractors for a publicly-traded company are subject to SOX whistleblower protections for retaliation against an employee for reporting various types of fraud involving the public company.

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