Cybersecurity has become a major concern for businesses and governments worldwide as data progressively plays a huge part in people’s lives. Consumer data, business operations, and even public utilities need effective cybersecurity to function and be safe from interference, such as hacking by foreign governments or underground groups.

A company that experiences a hacking incident may not want to disclose the problem out of fear of losing customers and public trust. When you know of an incident at a company that should be public, a Charleston inadequate cybersecurity and hacking whistleblower lawyer could provide crucial information about reporting to the government and protecting you from illegal retaliation by your employer. Call one of our dedicated whistleblower attorneys to discuss the best reporting strategy.

Reporting Cybersecurity Incidents

Companies often must disclose hacking incidents and evaluate their cybersecurity risks. For example, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has regulations requiring publicly traded companies to disclose hacking incidents and to manage their cybersecurity risks.

Similarly, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)—which followed the public fraud and failures of Enron and WorldCom—requires public companies to certify their financial statements and reporting to prevent fraud. Public employees can therefore blow the whistle on employers who appear to violate SEC rules or SOX.

The SEC and the U.S. Department of Justice can take complaints and testimony from whistleblowers and can even offer some protection from prosecution. Known as cooperation, employees who blow the whistle on fraud can receive reduced penalties or even no prosecution if they help the government’s case. In some scenarios, a whistleblower can receive compensation if a violation leads to financial penalties.

A whistleblower lawyer in Charleston could help an employee report inadequate cybersecurity or hacking to the SEC, the Department of Justice, or both. They can make sure the government receives all relevant information and treats the informant fairly, even if they participated in some part of the alleged fraud.

Retaliation Protections Under Federal Law

With duties to report under SOX and SEC regulations come protections for whistleblowing employees. SOX protections—enhanced by the Dodd-Frank Act—prohibit employers from firing a whistleblower or discriminating against them in pay or terms of employment, if the whistleblower takes certain actions:

  • Internal reporting of potential violations
  • Reporting to a federal agency or to the U.S. Congress
  • Testifying in a proceeding
  • Objecting to or refusing an action or omission that could violate federal law

When an employee thinks an employer has retaliated, they can file a complaint with the U.S. Secretary of Labor. The Secretary can investigate the complaint and begin an administrative process, including a hearing and evidence by employee and employer, to reinstate the employee and even secure back pay. If the Secretary does not act, however, the employee can bring suit in federal district court for the same remedies.

A Charleston whistleblower attorney familiar with cybersecurity retaliation cases could help an employee protect themselves and their employment. The attorney could file the complaint with the Secretary or with a court and guide the whistleblower’s case through the administrative and court process.

Consult With a Whistleblower Attorney On Cybersecurity Violation Reports

Businesses control the data of their customers and their operations in an increasingly digital world. With that control comes responsibility, a responsibility that extends to employees if they know something has gone wrong.

When you are thinking about reporting a hacking incident or a lack of cybersecurity—or have already done so and face retaliation—a Charleston inadequate cybersecurity and hacking whistleblower lawyer could support you. Call today to consult with an attorney about properly reporting a cybersecurity issue and about making sure you do not suffer illegal consequences for blowing the whistle.

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