On February 8, 2024, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Murray v. UBS Securities, LLC, holding that whistleblowers seeking protection under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) do not have to prove that their employers intended to retaliate against them.
KCNF Senior counsel George Chuzi contributed to an amicus brief in the case on behalf of The Government Accountability Project in support of petitioner Trevor Murray, a former research strategist at UBS who was terminated after alerting his supervisor that he was being pressured to skew his reports. While a jury initially decided the case in favor of Murray, the Second Circuit overturned the decision and held that SOX retaliation plaintiffs must separately prove that any adverse actions they faced from their employers after coming forward was intended as retaliation. This ruling departed from the findings of other Circuits, and advocates worried that the more aggressive standard would make it more difficult for SOX whistleblowers to prove retaliation as a result of protected activity.
Ultimately, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned the Second Circuit’s decision, ruling that a plaintiff only needs to show a casual connection between the protected activity and subsequent adverse action.