Sarbanes-Oxley Creates New Exposures

On July 30, 2002, President George W. Bush signed into law the Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility and Transparency Act, which criminalizes many corporate acts that were previously relegated to various regulatory structures.

Known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the primary focus of the Act is to redress accounting and financial reporting abuses in light of recent corporate scandals. However, risk managers and corporate counsel need to be aware that the Act also creates new workplace exposures for management personnel in terms of employer-employee relations.

Specifically, the Act contains broad employee whistle-blower protections that subject corporations and their managerial personnel to significant civil and criminal penalties for retaliating, harassing or discriminating against employees who report suspected corporate wrongdoing.

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