In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of former UBS analyst Trevor Murray, stating that UBS must provide back pay for his termination after he blew the whistle on alleged illegal pressure to alter research reports. The ruling carries broader implications, making it easier for whistleblowers to succeed in retaliation lawsuits.
The Supreme Court’s decision eliminates the requirement for whistleblowers to prove “retaliatory intent,” reinstating Murray’s trial victory. As a result, UBS is now obligated to pay approximately $900,000 in back pay and additional damages to Murray. Beyond this specific case, the ruling sets a precedent that could facilitate similar whistleblower cases under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and potentially other comparable statutes.
Under Sarbanes-Oxley, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees engaged in whistleblowing activities. The significance of the decision extends beyond corporate whistleblowers seeking relief under Sarbanes-Oxley, encompassing a broad spectrum of government and non-government whistleblower-protection laws structured similarly. Legal experts, including Robert Herbst, a lawyer for Murray, hail the ruling as a “huge victory” for whistleblowers nationwide, reinforcing their protection and encouraging accountability for employers who engage in retaliatory actions.