The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”) is a federal law that regulates the financial services industry. Dodd-Frank includes a wide range of regulations intended to protect consumers. They apply to most players including financial institutions and publicly-traded companies. While Dodd-Frank is a common topic of conversation in the corporate and financial worlds, its implications are equally important to human resources professionals.

From a human resources standpoint, Dodd-Frank provides employment protections for some employees. For example, the law says it is impermissible for an employer to terminate, discipline, or otherwise retaliate against a whistleblower, who is an employee who reports a violation of the law.  If there’s retaliation, Dodd-Frank allows the employee to sue their employer.

Not all complaints about Dodd-Frank violations qualify for this protection. In fact, the United States Supreme Court recently determined that Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower protections only apply if the complaint is made directly to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Unlike the Sarbanes–Oxley Act, a Dodd-Frank whistleblower employee won’t receive protection for internal complaints. Instead, in order to receive protection, an employee must take the step of reporting to the SEC. This likely will make it more challenging for employees who complain only internally about Dodd-Frank violations to bring successful retaliation claims against their employers.

If your business needs assistance with regulatory compliance or employee-related claims, The Coppola Firm stands ready to assist you.